Net metering is the process in which a grid-connected homes generate their own electricity through renewable means and sell any excess to a utility. There are two common methods to approaching this option: net metering and double metering.[1]

Net metering uses the common meter that is installed in most homes, running forward when power is used from the grid, and running backward when power is put into the grid (which allows them to “net“ out their total energy use, putting excess energy into the grid when not needed, and using energy from the grid during peak hours, when you may not be able to produce enough immediately). Power companies can quickly purchase the power that is put back into the grid, as it is being produced.

Double metering involves installing two meters: one measuring electricity consumed, the other measuring electricity created. Additionally, or in replace of selling their renewable energy, sustainable home owners may choose to bank their excess energy by using it to charge batteries. This gives them the option to use the power later during less favorable power-generating times (ie: night-time, when there has been no wind, etc), and to be completely independent of the electrical gridW.[2]

Revenue of self-produced power[edit | edit source]

When generating renewable energy and feeding it back into the grid (in participating countries such as the US and Germany), producing households are typically paid at least the full standard electricity rate by their utility and are also given separate renewable energy credits that they can then sell to their utility, additionally (utilities are interested in buying these renewable energy credits because it allows them to claim that they produce renewable energy). In some special cases, producing households may be paid up to four times the standard electricity rate, but this is not common.[3]

Simplified version of the step-by-step process[edit | edit source]

  • If consumer is connected to the grid, the utility company provides an energy meter to monitor energy used by consumer
  • Consumer's additional energy sources (i.e. wind turbine) is ran into the same meter and spins the needle backward as personal modes of energy production are created
  • The end product of net-metering is the consumed power minus the produced power. Keep in mind that the self-produced power has a higher economic value per kWh (depends on the legislation within that country, see above).

Consuming grid power during off-peak hours[edit | edit source]

Consuming power from the mains electricity grid during off-peak hours is economically attractive as the rates per kWh are far lower during these times.

The practical work out of this could simply be by not allowing the (non constantly essential) heavy energy consumers (dishwasher, washing machine, clothes dryer, ...) to operate untill nightfall (or when the off-peak hours have come in effect). This is done by simply loading the machines at any given moment in time and turning them "on", but by not yet actually providing power to the devices untill night has arrived (which can be done through a plug-in time switch (which needs to be manually set). The machines will then only commence their operation at night and by morning all washing will be done and the machines can then simply be emptied.

See also[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. McDilda, Diane Gow. The Everything Green Living Book: Easy Ways to Conserve Energy, Protect Your Family's Health, and Help save the Environment. Avon, MA: Adams Media, 2007. Print.
  2. McDilda, Diane Gow. The Everything Green Living Book: Easy Ways to Conserve Energy, Protect Your Family's Health, and Help save the Environment. Avon, MA: Adams Media, 2007. Print.
  3. Galbraith, Kate. Europe's Way of Encouraging Solar Power Arrives in the US. Editorial. The New York Times. 13 Mar. 2009, New York ed., Section B sec.: B1. 12 Mar. 2009. Web. 28 Oct. 2010.

External links[edit | edit source]

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