Utility Net Metering (Offset Energy or Electric Bill Savings)
When you go solar, your electric bill is immediately reduced because you pull less electricity from the grid. Additionally, whenever your system generates more electricity than you are using at that moment, your excess power automatically feeds back into the grid – in essence spinning your meter backwards. The kilowatt hours (kWh) are credited to your bill for later use, for instance in winter when solar generates less electricity. When you end the month with excess kWh, the credits are reported to you on your bill. Credits roll over month to month but not year to year. This year, credits zero out on April 30, 2019, then a new net metering year begins. In 2020, the net metering year-end date changes to March 31 annually, a date which better aligns with Washington’s solar generation, so that you can make the most of solar electricity generated in April.
Net Metering is designed to allow customers to generate electricity to offset up to 100% of what they use over one year. The utility is allowed to collect their monthly minimum or base rate. Learn more by going to your utility’s website and search for “net metering” or “customer generation.” Some large utilities are PSE, Seattle City Light, Snopud, Pacific Power, Tacoma Power, Avista.
In Washington, today Net Metering is a one-for-one credit for each kilowatt hour. Utilities are not required to offer Net Metering to additional customers once their minimum obligation is met so customers should check first with their utility to find out if net metering is available to you. The net metering obligation was raised in 2019 to 4% of 1996 peak demand for each utility.
NWES facilitates approval of your solar system by your utility’s net metering program by providing the detailed interconnection application and electrical one-line drawing to meet your utility’s standards and requirements. And of course, we install to meet electrical code and building code standards.
Two Meters Measure Two Different Incentives
This diagram shows the difference between the two metered incentives.
With Net Metering your electricity bill goes down (avoided cost of electricity) because solar electricity is meeting your needs. Furthermore your excess power earns bill credits to bring down your bill at a later date.
In RESIP, the State Incentive Program, you earn a payment for every kilowatt hour generated by solar as measured on a Production Meter for 8 years or until you earn back 50% of your cost, whichever occurs first. NOTE: unless or until new state funds are allocated to this program, payments to new applicants are not guaranteed.