fbpx
Close Up of Solar Panels

How Does Net Metering Work and Is it Important for Irvine Residents?

What is Net Metering?

Net metering that is also referred to as net energy metering (NEM) is a solar incentive that makes it possible to store energy from your solar panels in the state’s electric grid. During the day, a lot of the electricity produced by your solar panels will be more than you need. As a participant in the net metering scheme, you can send the extra electricity into the grid and get credits in return. During the night, your panels will be producing little to zero electricity. The situation will be reversed and you will be getting most of your electricity from the utility company and using your credits to pay for it.

If you have the best solar company in Irvine to install an appropriate size of solar system, you could get all the energy needs you need for a year met. However, due to varying levels of electricity generation through the year, net metering can come in handy to offset any imbalances. Through net metering, you get your credits for excess electricity and use them later when your solar panels are generating less than you need.   

There are many ways to get compensation for going solar, though net metering remains one of the most popular. As it currently stands, 41 states alongside Washington D.C. have mandated net metering regulations and two more utilities allow it.  

Overall, the summer is when you will produce excess electricity while you will depend more on the grid during the winter. With net metering in place, you can get either a lower bill or none at all during the winter months, as you will build up enough credits through excess generation during the summer months. With a well-designed system, you should get enough electricity to match or surpass your electricity needs for the year. 

How Net Metering Works

Solar Panels in Irvine will typically be producing the most electricity during the afternoons of summer when you are more likely to be out of the house. Most people spend the most electricity during the evenings and in the morning. Net metering helps to reconcile the surpluses and deficits in usage and production in daily use.

When you are on net metering, the excess generation from your solar system will be redirected to the utility’s grid. When this happens the meter will run in reverse granting you credits. When your panels are not producing enough such as during winter or at night, your meter will run normally so that you can now draw on the credits earned during the summer and during the day. This balances out your production such that you never have inefficiencies where you are wasting excess energy or do not have enough energy at any given time.    

When you generate more electricity than you can use in a month, you will get a monthly bill that has a credit indicating how many kilowatt-hours you sent to the grid. If your system produces less than you need in a month, you will have to buy power from the utility company to make up the difference. Nonetheless, you would only pay for the electricity you got from the utility company, less what your solar system generated.

How Net Metering Benefits Irvine Residents

California has one of the best net energy metering policies of all the United States. As such, if you are a resident of Irvine you stand to gain a lot from going solar as the state provides a lot of incentives.   

California’s Net Energy Metering Policy 

If you are a business or homeowner in Irvine that has registered for California’s net metering you get to enjoy bill credits as long as your solar system is less than 1,000 kilowatts. With net metering, you can save tens of thousands of dollars on electricity costs for the lifetime of your solar system.   

Under the original Net Energy Metering (NEM) in California, it was very simple to calculate how much you would get in bill credits. You would typically get a bill credit of a kWh from the utility for every kilowatt-hour you fed into the grid when you had excess generation. As such, If you got the best solar contractor in Irvine to design your system, it should have enough capacity to cover your energy needs for the entire year using bill credits.

The revised NEM changes a few aspects to the original net metering policy. However, you will still have access to retail bill credits. If you register your business or home in the program you will still get the credits measured in per- kWh for every kWh you feed into the grid.    

Another benefit of going solar for residential power users in Irvine is that you are exempted from standby fees, demand charges, installed capacity fees, and grid access charges.     

Time-of-use (TOU) Rates

Time of Use rates tends to cause a huge spike in the cost of electricity as demand goes up during certain times. During the early morning, late afternoon and early evening most people are at home and hence demand for power reaches its peak between 7 to 8 pm. Utility companies tend to charge more if you are using the grid during these times. However, you can avoid these high charges by claiming the credits you accumulated during the day when the system was producing excess energy.  If you live in Irvine, you will typically be switched to TOU rates once you install a solar system. Overall you will get higher TOU rates during the summer and in the afternoon which then go down during the weekend, at night and during the winter. Solar panels typically perform the best when you locate them on the west side of the roof, where they can get maximum exposure from the sun. This will ensure that they produce as much power as possible during the day, which you can then claim during peak hours.

Interconnection fee 

If you live in Irvine, you will have to apply and wait for a representative from the city to visit and inspect your solar system and sign off before you can be accepted into the NEM program. You will pay a small fee of 145 dollars for PG&E installation and $132 for SDG&E installation. Once you have paid the interconnection fee and have had the system connected to the grid, you can start enjoying the bill credits from your utility company.

Helping Veterans One Solar System at a Time

The Semper Cares Initiative was founded to help deserving veterans get relief from high electricity prices by blessing them with energy independence and the security of a secure roof over their heads.