Net metering is the foundational and most effective solar policy on which the entire residential solar industry is built.
It allows to feed the surplus electricity generated from solar system back to the electricity grid for a later use.
Net metering uses the electric grid to store the energy produced by the solar panel system. It can be used at a later time. It helps one to reduce their electricity bills and save more.
When the solar panels produce more electricity than consumption, electric meter runs in reverse. It sends the electricity back to the grid.
When the consumption is more than production, electric meter runs forward and electricity is pulled back from the grid.
For an on-grid solar system, a bi-directional meter is installed. It records the inflow of electricity from the grid to the house and outflow of electricity from the house to the grid.
This digital meter runs in both directions to accommodate electricity generated. The electricity bill will be a net of inflow and outflow electricity.
Solar panel production varies according to season. Panels produce more in summer. In winter season energy produced by the system is much lesser.
Net metering accounts for it by crediting for the excess electricity that is being sent to the grid. It also allows to use it later during the times of adversity.
Net-metering functions like a virtual battery. The consumers can avail power without a storage system even at times when the panels are not producing.
As batteries are not deployed for storage, maintenance cost of the system is much lesser.
Off grid solar system is the one where system is not connected to the power grid. Solar panels produce power and it is used by the clients. The connection with the utility company is severed.
The solar system produces electricity only when the sun is shining. There is no access to extra electricity even at times of need.
What is produced and what is stored is all that’s there to power the equipment. This makes solar batteries mandatory to stay powered at night.
An off-grid solar system can go for virtual net metering. It is more less similar to net metering from a customer’s point of view.
Community solar farm produces energy. It allows people to receive clean energy and make electricity bill savings. It is similar to the ones produced from their own roofs.
Virtual net metering makes customer savings happen. It pays back the investors too.
Net metering is an agreement between a consumer who installs a solar system and the Electricity Distribution Company. It allows the solar PV system owner to sell excess solar energy to the utility company.
It also allows them to buy deficit energy from the utility company using a meter to track this energy exchange.
Off-grid solar power system is not connected to the power grid. It has no access to net metering in the normal course.
Any surplus energy generated by the Off-grid solar system has to be either used, stored or it goes a waste.
An option to do so is to replace the off-grid inverter with an on-grid inverter. For both off grid and on grid functions, a hybrid solar inverter would be the best choice.
On grid inverters are those that can be connected directly to the grid. The micro-controller inside synchronizes the generated power to the utility grid.
An off-grid inverter is not designed to sync the generated power to the grid. It will get damaged when connected to the grid lines.
On grid inverters can be used for off grid applications. It is possible by developing a microgrid, with generator as a primary back up and solar inverter as a renewable source.
Hooking on grid inverters directly with generators can damage it due to reverse power.
Net metering makes renewable energy more economical and accessible to all. Its main advantage is that the surplus energy earns revenue while the shortage of energy is covered by the grid.
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