Net metering is the primary mechanism for compensating residential and small-scale solar projects in most states. Under net metering, customers with renewable electric generators can reduce their electric bill by generating some or all of their power and receiving a credit (at the full retail rate) from their utility for any excess generation. Net metering guarantees a return on investment, making it a major driver of solar deployment.
In some states, solar net metering is currently only available to single-property owners. Those states could extend policy benefits to other types of customers by authorizing aggregate, virtual, and community net metering.
Types of Net Metering:
- Aggregate net metering allows a property owner with multiple meters on the same property or adjacent properties to offset the aggregate load with a single generating system.
- Virtual net metering expands on aggregate net metering by allowing a property owner with multiple meters to distribute credits to individual accounts, which can be from non-adjacent properties.
- Community net metering detaches benefits from property ownership by allowing multiple users to benefit from a single generating system, mainly a community solar project.
Expanding net metering policy would enable renters, multi-property owners, and customers in multi-unit residences, commercial spaces, and government-owned facilities to take advantage of net metering incentives. Consequently, customers interested in solar would be able to consider alternative system designs with greater cost savings. Expanding net metering to meet the needs of a wider audience will increase demand for solar and subsequently create more installation and manufacturing jobs in the local solar industry.