Net Metering

Net Metering

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Net metering is a policy whereby utility companies are required to credit owners of distributed energy systems for the energy they provide to the grid at retail rate, above the amount used on the owner’s property. Proponents liken net metering to “rollover minutes” on a mobile phone plan.

Net metering policies create a smoother demand curve for electricity and reduce strain on distribution by encouraging generation during point of consumption. This allows utilities to better manage their peak electricity loads



Key Points

1) Solar energy jobs have increased nationally from 93,000 in 2010 to 173,807 today, adding workers at almost 20 times the rate of the larger economy, and now nearly double the number of coal mining jobs. (Fortune)

2) A recent study by Crossborder Energy shows that non-solar customers are not bearing the costs of others who do have solar installations. Rather, all customers receive a net benefit as a result of reduced peaks in energy usage during certain times of the day. (Crossborder Energy) 

3) Clean energy can benefit all communities. Minorities are 40% more likely to be exposed to airborne pollutants from power plants and exhaust, leading to higher rates of asthma and heart disease. (University of Minnesota)

4) Commission-led studies in Mississippi and Nevada found that net metering financially benefits all taxpayers and can help lower electricity rates.

NCEL’s Net Metering Factsheet


  • More than 40 states and the District of Columbia have some form of net metering policy in place.
  • 11 states and Washington, D.C., have authorized community net metering pilot projects where residents purchase shares of a single net-metered solar array, according to NCSL.
  • Minnesota and Austin, Texas have established a methodology to determine a “value of solar” tariff, which would see solar owners purchasing all of their electricity from utilities and then selling it back to the company at a fixed, predetermined price.  



Science and Reports

There were 200,000 solar power systems installed across the U.S. in 2014, an average of one every 2.5 minutes


Vote Solar and the Interstate Renewable Energy Council created a map assigning grade letters to each state based on their net metering programs. Click the link above to see where your state ranks. 



The NCEL Fact Sheet with key points and links to legislation is available here

The NCEL Fact Sheet with key points and links to legislation is available here

This sheet provides graphs and statistics to outline solar power’s rise to prominence since 2010, with a particular focus on solar’s benefit to all consumers. The fact sheet is available here

This report discusses various net metering policies and how different states are developing net metering and community solar policies differently. The full report is available here

The Union of Concerned Scientists outlines the basics of how solar energy works. The page features detailed information on key components such as photovoltaics and solar heat collectors. Learn more here.

NCSL has put together an outline of net metering policies across the U.S., along with a basic description of how net metering works. The page also features a map showing which states have enacted net metering policies, and can be viewed here



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