We’ll dive into the current status of net metering in New York City as well as the benefits of solar battery storage.
What is net metering?
When the sun is shining, solar panels in NYC produce a significant amount of electricity. That power is typically consumed immediately by the home or building that the solar panels are connected to. A typical solar system produces more power than is needed at any given moment throughout the day.
Thankfully, New York’s net metering program pushes excess solar back through the utility meter and into the grid. They track this export which is returned to the solar owner as a full retail value energy credit on their bill. This can be used in the evening or during the darker times of the year when a system isn’t producing.
In this sense, Net Metering functions somewhat like a battery. It allows you to benefit from all of your solar production, even when the sun isn’t shining. Currently thirty-eight states, Washington, D.C., and four territories offer net metering. Net Metering makes solar very appealing in NYC, but it obviously relies heavily on the utility company’s involvement.
Needless to say, the times are a’changing.
The Future of Solar Compensation
For New Yorkers considering solar, be aware that Con Edison will likely be moving away from net metering. On July 17th, NYSERDA announced that Phase One Net Metering will be available for projects interconnected before January 1, 2022. This reflects a one-year delay in the planned implementation due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. Projects that qualify for Phase One Net Metering will continue to receive it for twenty years post interconnection.
Projects interconnected on or after January 1, 2022 will receive net metering but will be charged a monthly Customer Benefit Contribution (CBC) based on the DC nameplate rating of the solar system. The CBC is expected to be initially calculated at between $0.69-$1.09/kW DC monthly depending on service class and location, and will appear as a charge on the customer’s electric bill. For customers considering a residential solar installation, the Staff proposed CBC would reduce potential bill savings by over 20%.
Solar Battery Storage
The popularity of solar has led to the rise of another renewable technology – solar batteries that can store extra solar power for later use. Homes with solar battery storage can store excess power onsite, largely circumventing the need for net metering. Since solar batteries store energy at your home, they offer short-term backup power in the event that there’s an outage, providing homeowners with an extra level of energy security.
While this pairing is still relatively new, the growth over the next five years is expected to be significant. According to SEIA, it is estimated that by 2025, more than 25% of all behind-the-meter solar systems will be paired with storage, compared to under 5% in 2019.
The advantages of solar battery storage are clear. But in NYC proper, it is not yet possible. FDNY has specific policies surrounding battery installation in residential buildings that currently make obtaining a permit impossible. Safety concerns of large lithium batteries are valid. However, given how understood the technology is, it’s certainly possible to safely install a battery in NYC.
Although we can’t install batteries now, all Brooklyn SolarWorks solar systems can be retrofitted easily to accommodate a battery once they are allowed. For now, going solar is the first step to energy independence in NYC.
Importance of Net Metering
Net metering supplies energy at peak times when producing and acquiring energy is most costly, like at nighttime. It not only reduces the need for transmission upgrades or new generation, but it contributes to overall reliability and NYC’s clean air goals.
Net metering provides substantial economic benefits in terms of jobs, income and investment. It increases demand for solar energy, which 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.
While we’re happy that net metering has been extended, we still urge Brooklynites who are interested in solar to consider moving forward in a timely manner. This way, we can install your system in time for you to take part in New York’s current programs & tax incentives while they’re at their peak.
Want to support net metering policies in New York State? Click here to advocate for solar energy.