Understanding Net Metering

Net metering allows you to sell excess power produced by your solar system back to the utility company at retail prices. SolarCity will recommend the optimal utility rate plan for you based on your electrical production and consumption patterns.

How Does Net Metering Work?

Net metering is a special metering and billing agreement between you as the solar system owner and the utility company that allows you to buy and sell energy in the form of electric credits.

When your solar system generates more power than what your home or business can immediately use, your excess power flows back to the utility grid and your meter literally spins backward! When you use more power than is being produced, the meter runs forward as normal.

Your meter literally spins backward when your solar system generates more power than you can immediately use.

Net metering customers are charged only for the "net" power that they use over a designated time period. Most utility companies will credit you for the power you generate for up to a year, but unfortunately, they will not send you a check for the net excess electricity production.

What are Time-of-Use Rates?

Time-of-Use (TOU) rates refer to a utility billing system in which the price of electricity varies based on the hour of the day. Rates are higher during the afternoon when electric demand is at its "peak" across all utility customers. "Partial-peak" hours are generally in the morning and evening and "off-peak" hours are usually during the night and on weekends.

Buy Low and Sell High!

Residential and commercial solar customers receive full retail rate credit for the solar electricity you generate based on the time of day that the energy is produced. This is to your advantage because your solar system is producing maximum energy during peak afternoon hours, when the utility rates are also at their highest. So you are "selling" electricity to the utility company at high peak rates in the afternoon.

At night when your solar system is not producing energy, you will need to "buy" the electricity you need from the utility company, but this will be at the lower off-peak rates. So you buy low and sell high!

SolarCity Will Handle All Details

SolarCity will work with you to determine which utility rate plan makes the most financial sense based on your system production and your electrical usage patterns. We will install your new net meter and coordinate with your utility company to switch you to a new rate plan.