The world has seen a paradigm shift in the power industry during the past decade. More and more people are getting aware of the potential benefits of renewable energy and are opting for better and renewable energy sources. Solar panels are becoming very common to spot in urban settlements. As the popularity of solar power continues to grow, it is only obvious that the amount of people getting interested in it will grow exponentially.
An amazing benefit that solar energy comes with is the fact that it allows its users to practice net metering. Net metering, also referred to as net energy metering, is an incentive given to solar energy users which allows them to sell and store their surplus energy on to the main electric grid. In essence, the scenario of the whole net metering process is simple. When a user generates more electricity through solar panels, than he actually needs, the surplus energy can then be sent to the main grid in exchange for credits. Now when the same person experiences reduced energy output from their solar panels, they can simply use the electricity from the main grid in exchange for their credit points.
It is essential to note that net metering can only be practiced by those users who have a big enough system which produces more energy than they actually need. With the right size of solar panel system, users can produce more electricity than their household requirements. However, the amount of electricity produced will vary throughout the year, depending upon the number of sunlight hours and the prevailing weather. Net metering can be very beneficial in such conditions, as they help a user to account for these fluctuations throughout the year.
Net metering has managed to attract many users lately. This method of energy sharing has become the single most popular way to compensate for electricity demand and supply mismatch. While net metering largely depends upon the government policies of a certain area, almost all countries are trying to devise favorable solar policies. In US, for example, about 41 states have mandatory net metering rules.
To understand the working of net metering, it is important to realize that electricity generation through solar panels is not uniform throughout the day. Output from solar panels hit its peak during afternoon, when many people are not even in their homes. A household requires the most amount of energy during morning and evening hours. Thus, net metering helps a user to account for these ups and downs. During afternoon, when personal consumption is low, users can transfer their energy to the main grid. Conversely, during morning and evening hours, when the output from solar panels is low, users can use electricity from the main grid.
In a traditional electric system, electricity comes from the main grid, through your meter, and in to your house. Net metering allows for two-way flow of electricity, meaning your meter actually runs in reverse when your solar panel system is supplying access electricity to the grid. On the other hand, when your solar panel system is not producing enough electricity, your meter can draw electricity from the main grid normally. That is essentially how net metering works.