Negative Electric Bills: How Solar Spins Back Your Meter

You might think that getting a negative bill is too good to be true. But at Rayah Solar, we help people do just that! The process is called Net Metering, and its fairly simple once you get the basic understanding. If your solar system produces more power than you used that month, you will get a credit from your utility company and a negative bill! We’ve answered some frequently asked questions about net metering below: check it out!

1) What is Net Metering?
A Net Meter is essentially a two-way meter, spinning in both directions. When you are drawing power from the grid, it spins forward. If you have solar panels on your home or business, and the panels are producing more power than you are using, than the Net Meter will spin backwards. The Net Meter acts like a solar electric savings account, keeping track of the power you put into the utility grid. This is how you save money!

2) How is Net Metering Calculated?
Let’s say it s a sunny day and your solar panels produce 30 kWh. And let’s pretend nothing was on that day. When you come home at night, you would have a Net Metering credit of -30 kWh. Than you turn on everything in the house and use 10 kWh that evening. You would end up with a negative credit on your Net Meter of -20 kWh for that day.

Now lets pretend it’s the month of May; you haven’t turned on your air conditioners yet, the sun it out until 7:30 at night, so you turn the lights on later, and you only use about 500 kWh of power that month. If your solar system produced 800 kWh that month, that would mean you would have a Net Meter reading of -300 kWh. This credit is transferred into a cash amount by multiplying it by your current electric rate. Currently rates are about $.19/kWh, that means you would have a credit of $57 (.$19 x 300) on your electric bill. Sweet, Right!

3) Will the Electric Company Really Owe Me Money?
Yes, but it comes in the form of a credit. Please note, the utility will never cut you a check.

4) Will My Net Metering Credits Ever Expire?
No. Net Metering credits carry over month-to-month and year-to-year. They will never expire. They are kind of like cell phone roll over minutes.

5) How Much Money Will I Save?
It is different on each house, and savings will depend on a variety of factors such as how many solar panels are installed, the orientation of your roof, the pitch of the roof, and even the season of the year (solar panels produce more power in the Spring, Summer and Fall and less in the winter).

*Side Note: The savings with Net Metering are great, but we also find that people enjoy the control and predictability of producing their own energy.

6) How Can I Take Advantage of Net Metering?
By going solar. You can meet with one of our solar consultants to talk about solar options for your home. Many utilities in Massachusetts offer Net Metering. However, some municipalities don’t. To make sure your town offers Net Metering, call us at 617-564-3159. If you are one of the lucky ones, you will be on your way from “ouch” electric bills, to “Oh Yeah” electric bills!

7) How Does Net Metering Fit into Today’s Energy Market?
Rather than answer this ourselves, we will quote from one of Massachusetts’ main energy companies, EverSource:

“Today, the majority of New England’s electricity is generated using fossil fuels like natural gas, oil, and coal. This balance will shift in the coming years as the state and the region invest in carbon-free and renewable resources to meet environmental policies and consumers’ desire for cleaner electricity. Renewable energy options hold great promise for our future and with rebates and incentives offered through state and federal programs, more customers are becoming interested in getting involved.”
If you like the idea of watching your meter spin backwards, give us a call. We’ll see if we can make this a reality for you. #Rayah Solar – Making the Impossible, Possible!

P.S. We just got this electric bill from one of our ecstatic customers. It was for Negative $300! Three months in a row he has had Net Metering credits for over $100. Wow!

 Bill (-$100)


Article Written By: Doretta B. ~ Project Management, Rayah Solar


Sources (Common wealth of Massachusetts) – department of public utilities – Eversource

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