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What is solar net metering?

The government aims to reduce conventional sources dependency and switch to clean solar energy as it proves to be the most prominent and reliable source of energy due to the series of economic benefits it offers in its 25 plus years of lifespan.

Why just be a consumer when you can be a producer as well?

Right, solar energy installation at your place can make you a prosumer.

Solar net metering consents consumers to produce, borrow and sell electricity to the connected utility grid.

Net metering is a billing mechanism that allows you to pay for your electricity production.

But how does net metering work? What are the scenarios in which I can get paid?

In this article, we have tried to answer your question and provide you with insights related to solar net metering.

How does solar net metering work?

1. During Day/Sunny Day: Solar panels operate most efficiently and provide their maximum amount of electricity on sunny days. The generated energy is delivered to the associated load via the inverter, and any excess energy (since your home typically uses less energy during the day) is exported to the grid via the net meter. The net meter keeps track of how much energy is supplied.
The energy supplied to the grid can be imported during the non-sunny hours, and the difference between the energy supplied and borrowed is calculated at the end of the billing cycle.

2. During night: The solar panels are not capable of generating the required energy during night hours. To support this time slot energy is imported from the utility grid.

3. During cloudy weather: During the cloudy weather or rainy season, solar panels operate below their optimum level. The extra energy required during this time interval is imported from the utility grid connected through solar net metering. The amount of energy imported is recorded and added during the billing period.

4. During power outages: In case of power failure, the solar net meter stops working as a safety precaution. During this event, if power is supplied from the solar panel to the utility grid-connected the person working on the maintenance of the grid can be endangered
For instance, a grid-connected solar rooftop system installed generates 700 units of electricity per month, now let us understand the billing scenario considering the following two case

Case 1(May):
Energy consumption: 600 units
Solar energy generation: 700 units
Difference: 700-600 = 100 units
These 100 units are carried forward into the next month, and the estimated net electricity bill for this month is zero.

Case 2(June):
Energy consumption: 600 units
Solar energy generation: 800 units
Difference: 800-600 = 200 units
Carry forwarded units = 100 units
Energy bill = (Difference of energy units – carry forwarded units)
= 200 – 100
= 100 units

So, for this month the consumer needs to pay only for the extra 100 units consumed.
Suppose for your location the set tariff rate is Rs 5 per unit,
100 * 5= 500 Rs.
So the estimated billing amount for this month is Rs 500.
Just an anxious fact: Without solar energy installation, the electricity bill would have been 800*5 = 4000 Rs
(I know it is too much, especially for residential consumers)Going for solar is a vital alternative to cut your ever-increasing electricity bills without compromising your comfort!

Challenges:

To increase solar adoption, governments of many states have adopted solar net metering policy but its implementation has been delayed or restricted by imposing various other limitations.
Despite their interest in solar installations, many consumers were hesitant to install solar at their location due to the unfriendly solar net metering policies.

Policy:

To overcome the challenges the rules imposed prior on net metering were changed and implemented.

According to the latest amendment rule released in June 2021 by the Ministry of Power under the “Right of Consumers” provisions of the electricity right act 2003 regarding solar rooftop projects, net metering can be permitted for a plant capacity of 500kw or up to the sanctioned load (whichever is low) as per the state policy. The consumers can earn nearly Rs 7 per unit (kwh) (It varies with state policy) from the installed rooftop system just by selling the surplus generated solar power with the help of net meter.

Advantages of solar net metering:

1. Reduced electricity bill
2. Credits can be rolled out to next month
3. With solar net metering no battery backup is required

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