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For New Yorkers considering solar, be aware that Con Edison is changing their Net Metering program. Now is the optimal time to go solar and ensure you receive the full financial benefits.

What is Net Metering?

If you’re a homeowner considering solar, questions like these may have crossed your mind: How do I store the energy my system produces? What happens at night when there’s no sun? 

If these questions are at the top of your mind, we have two words for you: net metering!

Put simply, net metering is a billing mechanism that allows you to store your solar energy as a retail energy credit to be used at a later date. But how does it work exactly?

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Net Metering allows you to utilize your solar production even when the sun isn’t shining. Credit

As a residential solar owner, you remain connected to the grid. When your solar system is installed, a net meter is installed with it. This net meter tells the utility company how much energy your solar system is exporting to the grid. 

During the day, your solar system will likely produce a lot more energy than you’re actually using. All of that excess energy feeds back into the grid and can be used at night or during less sunny times of the year. 

In this way, net metering in its current form could be considered a virtual battery. It allows you to utilize your solar production even when the sun isn’t shining. This is particularly appealing considering FDNY currently does not allow batteries to store solar power in residential settings. Net metering ensures New Yorkers continue to benefit from all of the energy their solar systems produce.

Are there financial benefits to Net Metering?

Net metering helps you get the most bang for your buck when you go solar. Your net meter keeps track of how many kilowatt-hours your system produces and exports to the grid. The electric company only charges you for your net energy usage (energy consumption – energy production). 

Take this scenario from New York State Solar for example:

Let’s say in one month, your solar system produced 1,000 kWh. Your household consumption was 800 kWh. Your net consumption was -200 kWh; in other words, your solar system produced an extra 200 kWh more than what you needed that month. Your utility will credit your electricity account those extra kilowatt-hour credits for the next month, if you need them. It‘s indicated on your bill as your ‘energy bank.’

Let’s say the next month your solar system produces another 1,000 kWh. However, your home uses 1,200 kWh. In this case, the utility will include the 200 kWh credit from the previous month. In this case, everything evens out, and they wouldn’t charge you for electricity, because your net consumption was zero.

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Net Metering is one of the best financial incentives for New York City homeowners considering solar.

When you make the switch to solar, net metering credits you for all the energy your system produces. Under the current program, the kilowatt-hours that your solar system exports are valued at the retail electric cost; in other words, as Con Edison rates rise, the value of the energy your system exports does too. It also ensures that energy is supplied at times when producing and acquiring energy is most costly, like at nighttime. For these reasons, net metering is one of the best financial incentives when it comes to going solar.

Net metering not only benefits you as a homeowner, but the community and economy overall. It reduces the need for transmission upgrades or new generation and contributes to overall reliability and NYC’s clean air goals. It also increases demand for solar energy. This creates jobs for the installers, electricians, and manufacturers who work in the solar supply chain. The solar industry currently employs 250,000+ American workers in large part due to strong state net metering policies which have allowed it to thrive.

What does the future of Net Metering look like in NYC?

For New Yorkers considering solar, be aware that Con Edison has announced changes to their net metering program. Other states have recently begun to do the same in order to address “cost shifting.” Cost shifting is when utility companies claim they must charge their non-solar customers more money in order to make up for the revenue they lose from net metering.

To address cost shifting, NYSERDA announced last July that Phase One Net Metering (the program as it is now) will only be available for projects interconnected before January 1, 2022. Projects that qualify for Phase One Net Metering will continue to receive the full retail value of their solar power for 20 years post interconnection, with no additional charges. 

In addition, NYSERDA announced a new method of compensating distributed energy resources, called the Value of Distributed Energy Resources (VDER). Under this program, solar system owners receive a Value Stack Tariff rate for the energy their systems produce rather than the full retail value of it.

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The upcoming changes to Con Edison’s Net Metering program could reduce potential electric bill savings by 20%. Credit

This program allows the utility company to decide the value of your solar power based on when and where they provide electricity to the grid. Under this program, your solar power will be considerably undervalued.

Projects interconnected on or after January 1, 2022 will have the option to choose between the Value Stack Tariff or net metering. In either case, customers will be charged a monthly Customer Benefit Contribution (CBC). The CBC is based on the DC nameplate rating of the solar system. It is expected to be between $0.69-$1.09/KW DC monthly, depending on service class and location. The charge will appear on your electric bill. 

For residential customers considering a solar installation, the CBC could reduce potential bill savings by over 20%. When interested homeowners approach us about solar, we stress that moving forward sooner than later is in their best interest. Going solar before the end of 2021 locks you into the current Net Metering program. Once you’re locked in, you’ll get the full retail value of solar power for 20 years.

Will changes to Net Metering affect my investment in solar?

While the potential savings from the current net metering program will reduce, it is important to know that the return on your investment in solar will not change significantly.

Though payback periods may vary when factoring in these new changes, the investment in solar is still worthwhile, for yourself, your home, and the planet.

And while going solar will always make financial sense and benefit the planet, why pay an extra monthly fee when you still have time not to? If you plan on going solar eventually, 2021 is the year to do it. Join 1,000 of your neighbors and lock in the current net metering program for the next 20 years.

We are urging New Yorkers interested in solar to consider moving forward by July of this year. This way, we can guarantee installation in time for you to take part in New York’s current programs and incentives while they’re at their peak.

Take charge of your future and go solar now! Schedule your free consultation today.

Questions? Chat with a BSW consultant now.


Sources

Solar United Neighbors

NYSEIA

New York State Solar

SEIA

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