Net Metering

nvysealnvyseal Solar Expert Posts: 108 ✭✭✭✭
Hi all, been reading over your forums for a couple of weeks now. Great place!

Ive got a puzzling question for you all.

I had solar installed 1-10-09 and couldn't be happier I live in Southern California, and had a 4.7kWH, Sharp Panels and Fronius 5100 Inverter. (We overbuilt on the inverter to allow for more panels if necessary). The system was based upon my historical usage for the last past 2 years. Normal bills would average $350.00 and increase to $500.00+ in summer. Flat roof house, hardly no insulation between roof and ceiling, 5 ton Air Conditioner. Most of the time I was in the tier 3 heavy users and paying a premium price for a kWH. After installation I got greener. Put to pasture a 1950's Icebox, installed CFL's Got rid of the old rear projection TV and went to a LCD 46" HDTV, Powered down the desktop PC's and mainly use laptops and stopped [email protected] Basically just looked for unnecessary power usage.

Here's my question,

I'm now generating a surplus, not much mind you, just about 150-230kWH a month more than we use. My electric bills with Southern California Edison average $1.71 to $1.88 (meter read & maintenance) a month.

The key here is the kWH surplus, I give it to SCE as kWH and they give it back to me as $$ dollar credit i presume based on the baseline kWH.

Now what would happen if my solar went out for a summer month and i had to solely rely on living on grid using up those kWH i had given to SCE. When I exceed my baseline, and hit tier 2 and 3 am I having to buy my kWH back at a higher price from SCE than what they credited it to me for?

Food for thought!


  • nielniel Solar Expert Posts: 10,300 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Net Metering

    pretty much appears it would be that way.
  • nvysealnvyseal Solar Expert Posts: 108 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Net Metering

    Well that kind of suks. How does one go about fixing this. I kind of look at the power company as a bank. I don't expect any interest, but if i deposit 1 dollar, I kind of expect to get 1 dollar back, not 60 cents :confused:
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 32,800 admin
    Re: Net Metering

    Not much you can do to change the economics of the situations... Just how you look at it...

    For my utility (PG&E of Northern California)--I get a "cash" credit based on what month and how much power I generated (net metering, tiered, Time of Use, seasonal). And I have that money to buy back power at another time (some time in that one year metering cycle)--for me, that is usually winter, so I "get paid" $0.30 for weekday afternoon generation, and pay $0.09-$0.11 per kWhr for off-season during the winter.

    When all is said and done--I still run ~$250-$350 unused credit per year (for that "electric car" and/or A/C system if we ever do).

    Remember, that because you have tiered usage--your solar system has already knocked of those higher rate tiers that you used to pay (>300 kWhrs per month for my area).

    Other option--if your utility has residential Time Of Use metering--depending on the Peak Hours (and your usage pattern, weekdays vs weekends, etc.)--Since Solar PV generates much of its power in the afternoons--generally the peak billing time--you will get your peak paybacks at this time too.

    With PG&E--the current residential peak and partial peak times go to 7PM/9PM and are quite complex (winter 2 billing periods, 4 tiers, weekday vs weekend/holiday; summer 3 billing periods, 4 tiers, weekday vs weekend/holiday 2 billing periods)--I defy any one to "train" their family and "enforce" Time of Use energy use practices... It is just too complex to explain--and the partial/peak billing is quite wide (something like 10am to 9pm)... I am grandfathered (currently--that may change) with an older/simpler TOU plan which is more "solar friendly" (peak is noon-6pm--at least the sun is up then and we can use power after 6pm weekdays, all day on weekends).

    Otherwise--conservation is the best place to put your energy "investments".

    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • nvysealnvyseal Solar Expert Posts: 108 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Net Metering

    Thanks bill for the reply.

    Maybe is some time laws will change, and we, as generators will be recognized as a solution to our countries energy problems and be compensated as such. I personally plan if i have any credits left at the the end of my yearly cycle to use them for folding cycles. I am also looking into an electric car. been looking at that Aptera, but it sure is way out there, but could be a draw to my business if i wrapped it in advertising.
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