Net energy metering is the practice where a solar customer gets credit for their solar power, whenever they have more than they need. Duke Energy Carolinas and Duke Energy Progress issue a bidirectional meter for the home, which is a meter that spins both ways.
You can think of this as the grid acting a little like a battery. When you’re using power from the grid, like all customers do, your bi-directional meter runs forward, and anytime you’re producing more solar energy from your solar than you need in your home, the excess runs out onto the grid and the meter counts back. You’ll see on your utility bill that your account now tracks the net amount of energy you consumed: all the power your home used during the month minus the power your solar produced.
Those electrons go to meet your neighbors’ energy needs. That can strengthen the grid and is beneficial for reliability, and the customer gets bill credit for that excess power. Many solar installations also include monitoring systems to verify and analyze the power produced, and using monitoring the customer gets even more data for both the energy consumed and the energy sent to the utility. If that’s not very clear, that’s okay! Talk with a full-time solar professional with a solar contractor company near you about your energy needs and they’ll be happy to answer your questions.
Currently, Duke Energy Carolinas and Duke Energy Progress customers enjoy net energy metering with no extra monthly fees or participation charges. Plus, customers are collecting “full credit” for solar power they send to the grid, whereas some solar customers who live outside the Duke Energy Carolinas and Duke Energy Progress service areas are credited for their solar at lower rates or at variable rates. This means that at this time, net energy metering is really an incentive in its own right that encourages customers to go solar. While it is possible that in the future net energy metering rates may change, we expect that customers who sign up for net energy metering prior to the change would be “grandfathered” for a certain period of time to receive the previous more favorable rate.