Much is said about "Going Solar!" these days, but what does that mean? Here we will discuss the difference between being off the grid or tied to it; as well as why Net Metering is important!
Am I "Off Grid?"
More than likely, you will be tied to the grid. While there are circumstances where self-sufficient, "off-the-grid" systems are needed, nearly all photovoltaic systems are indeed tied to the grid.
What does that mean?
That means you generate electricity and your excess supply is then fed back onto the grid. Later, when the sun has set and you need that power back from the utility company, you've already "paid" for it! This is accomplished by net-metering.
The Solar Energy Industries Association defines net-metering as "a billing mechanism that credits solar energy system owners for the electricity they add to the grid." If a home is "net-metered," the meter will actually roll backwards while the photovoltaic (PV) system is generating power. This provides a credit to offset usage during nighttime or other periods of time when the electricity usage exceeds the PV system output.