One of the top reasons our customers tell us they're in the market for solar panels is to save money on their energy bills.
Everybody likes saving money.
Depending on where you live, you may be able to generate additional cash from the excess energy your solar panels send to the grid using net metering or other similar agreements.
This blog post will explain the basics of net metering, including whether your state has a policy in place.
What is net metering, and what are the advantages of using it?
Net metering is a billing arrangement that allows you to earn credit for the excess electricity your solar panels produce. When your solar panels generate more electricity than you use, the excess goes back into the grid. Utility companies provide their customers with credits that offset future bills and help them save money.
How to find out if your state or utility company has a net metering policy
Before you install a system, you should confirm that your state has a compensation program. Many solar quotes come with net metering estimates, but it's important to remember that each state has different policies, and those policies can change.
Examples of items that differ from state to state can be limits on the size of a system, the amount of output that qualifies for compensation, and installation cutoff dates.
Our favorite site for tracking state-wide solar incentives like net metering is DSIRE, as it is updated regularly with accurate information.
You can also go directly to the source. Visit your state's Public Utilities Commission website or call your utility company to ask if they have a net metering policy.
Which states have net metering policies?
Check out our map for a visual on the state of net metering in the U.S.
The states that offer net metering policies are:
- New Hampshire
- New Jersey
- New Mexico
- New York
- North Carolina
- North Dakota
- Rhode Island
- South Carolina
- West Virginia
There are only three states left that do not offer net metering or other forms of compensation for excess solar production:
- South Dakota
That doesn't mean all of the other 47 do offer net metering. Two others do not have compensation policies:
In both states, net metering options are available directly from utility companies.
Three additional states offer forms of compensation called net billing, which is a form of compensation that we will discuss in the next section. Those are:
The U.S. Virgin Islands also offer net billing.
All other states, Washington DC, and the U.S. Territories (Guam, Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico, and American Samoa) offer net metering policies.
What is net billing, and how does it differ from net metering?
Currently, three states and the U.S. Virgin Islands offer net billing. Those states are Utah, Arizona, and California.
Under net metering, the utility company pays you for your excess energy at the retail rate (what they sold the energy to you for), and with net billing, they pay you at the wholesale rate (the rate they bought it for).
The difference here is the profit that the utility company made by selling you the energy in the first place. Net billing gives you a return on your solar panel investment, but it's not as much of a return as net metering.
How Yellowlite can help
Our team of pro-solar experts has helped countless customers save money on energy bills and help the environment by installing best-in-class solar systems. Our expertise allows us to analyze your needs and budget to help you choose the best solar system for your unique needs. Before completing installations, we ensure our customers have the information they need to make an educated decision about their solar investment.