New York Net Metering
How Net Metering Works in New York State and the Consumer Benefits
Many customers who opt for using renewable energy sources, including solar, wind and hydropower, make the switch so they can live an environmentally friendly lifestyle. An additional benefit for customers that choose renewable energy is that they can better manage their New York electricity bills. In fact, renewable energy customers can be rewarded for their support with a reduction in their energy bill, enabled by the practice of net metering.
So what is net metering anyhow? To understand net metering, let’s first take a look at the concept of excess power generation. Electricity generated from renewable sources can fluctuate based on the season and weather conditions. On sunny days, for example, more solar power could be generated than an individual home actually requires. The excess electricity is returned to the power grid for distribution. In 43 U.S. states, including New York, plus Washington, D.C. the local utility company that supplies the electricity is required to pay the customer for this excess electricity. This practice of debiting and crediting a customer’s utility bill is known as “net metering,” or net energy metering (NEM). In simple terms, net metering allows rooftop solar energy customers to pay only for the net energy they consume. The Solar Energy Industries Association estimates that 20-40% of a solar energy system’s output is returned to the grid.
Community Solar Customers Benefit from Virtual Net Metering
Net metering is used with customers who have rooftop solar panels or businesses who generate and consume their own power. Residents who subscribe to a Community Solar farm are also able to benefit through virtual net metering (VNM). VNM is the billing arrangement that gives bill credits to multiple individuals for the overproduction of solar energy from a solar array, like a solar farm.
Virtual net metering is used for these off-site solar installations. Community Solar New York customers receive credits on their electricity bill for the solar energy produced by their designated share of the solar farm. Unlike net metering, virtual net metering is currently only available in a limited number of U.S. states. This arrangement provides the same financial incentives to those who cannot personally manage a solar energy system that individual solar power customers realize.
According to Freeing the Grid, a policy guide developed in partnership with the Interstate Renewable Energy Council, New York’s net metering program received a grade of A in 2017, up from a D in 2007 when the grading system was started. The high mark was given for the state’s increase in the net metering program capacity and for its virtual net metering option.
Community solar farms are growing across New York. New York residents in the Orange & Rockland and Central Hudson Gas & Electric utility footprints can work directly with NRG Community Solar New York customer representatives to become a subscriber.