Are you familiar with the term “net metering“? You should be! Did you know that renewable energy systems such as residential solar panels and wind turbines can allow you to offset your electricity bill?
When sunlight is bright or winds are brisk, you may generate more electricity than you use. In these cases, the extra energy is sent back into the grid for others to use, and you get a credit for the times during which you need to draw on grid-based electricity (i.e. overnight). You can literally turn your meter backward during these times. This is called net metering, and its how people can live on solar energy, even when the sun is not shining.
Grid-connected solar power and net metering benefits more than just the customer. Utilities love having you generate additional renewable electricity to help off-set peak demands, such as when its sunny and hot and everyone wants to crank the A/C. That’s part of the reason they reward solar homes with net metering credits.
Using net metering with solar panels also helps the Earth. Renewable sources defray pollution, minimize use of fossil fuels, cut your carbon footprint and can help address global climate change.
With more states and utilities expanding their net metering programs, installation of solar panels and other renewable energy systems will be encouraged.