When you set up a solar power system for your home, you can set it up either to be connected to the main power grid or as an independent off-the-grid system. A grid connected system is one where the excess power generated by your solar panels is transferred to the main power grid instead of a battery. In this case, you are not always directly consuming the electricity generated. Solar net meter or metering is an important part of setting up a grid connected system.
How Does Solar Net Metering Work?
When you set up a grid connected system, your home is powered by electricity generated by the solar panels during the day and the main power grid at night or on cloudy days. The solar panels are not connected to a battery. Excess power generated during the day is transferred to the main power grid. While this happens, the meter runs backwards and a credit is generated in your account. When you do use power from the main power grid, the meter moves forwards. Thus, at the time of billing, you are billed only the net energy consumed.
Advantages of Net Metering:
Since the sun is up for only half the day, you generate electricity only for the time between sunrise and sunset. Connecting the panels to a battery should be able to take care of this difference in power generated and consumed. However, the amount of electricity generated is also affected by seasons. While you may generate enough electricity for your home during the summer, you may have a power deficit during the monsoons. Even if you had a battery connected to the solar panels, you may not be able to store enough electricity to manage seasonal differences. On the other hand, net metering takes care of all seasonal differences in power generation and ensures your home always a seamless electricity connection.
Net metering is also beneficial for your budget. Since you are billed only according to net usage, your monthly electricity bills are considerably lower. You should also note that since you do not need to connect the solar inverter to a battery, the initial investment needed is reduced.
This type of connection for your solar panels also maximizes the environmental benefits. The excess power generated by your solar panels is sent to the local grid. From here it is distributed to nearby residential and commercial units. Thus, it must travel through smaller distances as compared to electricity generated at the power plants. Note that while electricity is being transferred through power lines, a percentage of the power is lost. The amount of electricity lost is directly proportional to the distance it must travel. Since the power has to travel through a shorter distance the amount of power lost is reduced.
In short, solar net metering is easy to set up and beneficial for you and the environment around you. This is a system that can be set up in residential units as well as commercial ones. So, are you ready to set up a solar power generating system on your rooftop?