The concept of net metering is something that works as an incentive for both – the supplier and the consumer. Net Metering is essentially the process of giving back surplus energy being produced to the grid. Solar energy producers are capable of producing more energy than they consume. This excess energy is pushed back to the grid to provide for other consumers. This process of sending back excess energy is commonly referred to as net metering. The solar panel owners first consume the electricity produced; the excess is pushed back to the grid for the consumption for others connected to the grid.
Net metering plays a very vital role in India – a country where there is a lot of variation in terms of available sunlight, usable electricity, distribution channels etc. If India aims to achieve its energy security by 2022, Net metering is specially crucial. Net metering has been successfully implemented in places like Delhi, Punjab, Uttarakhand, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Bihar, West Bengal and Tamil Nadu.
(img source : https://www.fpl.com/clean-energy/solar/images/net-metering-diagram.gif)
As a consumer, the biggest advantage with net metering is the ability to drastically reduce the electricity bills. This is one of the most important aspects that attract users towards net metering. While some people may argue that net metering might not be a favorable thing for electric companies, the real story is different – during peak hours the electricity grid is actually supported by consumers that have opted for net metering – since there is more electricity being produced, the overall load on the energy company is greatly reduced.
All net metering consumers are limited by capacity – which means consumers are allowed to push back the same amount of electricity that is sanctioned to their line. By limiting the capacity and amount of electricity that can be pumped back into the system, the generation of electricity and greatly controlled and regulated in a proper way. Consumers that have availed net metering will also be required to install two reading meters at their premises. One of these meters is going to be to manage and monitor the amount of electricity being consumed, the other meter is going to be for the amount of electricity that is being produced by the solar panels. Both these meters will be monitored by the Government to make sure there is no foul play. Furthermore, the electricity generation will be capped on these setups, the generation of electricity is capped to 90% of the total consumption of electricity. Any electricity that is produced above this 90% is considered as free energy and will not be offset against the consumer’s consumption.
Net metering is a great concept if utilized to its full potential, a country like India with its vast available land and sunlight can benefit a lot from the process of net metering. This concept has been a proven model in many places in Europe, we hope it’s a similar story in India as well.