A solar photovoltaic system may produce more or less electricity than a customer needs at any given time. When the system production exceeds the electricity used, the excess energy automatically flows through the electric meter to the utility grid.
Under a net energy metering (NEM) agreement, your utility reads your meter monthly and sends a statement summarizing the net amount of electricity consumed from or supplied to the grid during that billing period. This results in either a credit or a charge to your account.
Customers with net surplus energy after a 12-month billing period ends (meaning the system generated more electricity in total than was consumed) receive a credit for the excess kilowatt-hours (kWh) at a special rate. Options for receiving payment vary, so contact your utility for more details. When choosing the system size for your home, be sure you clearly understand your utility rate options and the potential impact on your utility bill.
Why go Solar Now Rather than Wait?
It’s the eternal question: Buy now or wait? Assuming you want to install solar panels on your roof, should you go for it or hold off for better technology or lower prices? I don’t have a definitive answer, but let me offer a few thoughts that might inform your decision.