Net metering

A solar installation connected to the grid transfers electricity to and from the utility company at various times instead of using batteries for storage. Electric utilities in Idaho participate in net metering, but the specifics are different for each company, so it is important to understand your utility company's rules. It can be confusing, so give us a call with your questions, we're happy to help.

How does this work? The utility will swap the current one-way meter on your property for a bi-directional meter. The new meter keeps track of electricity you consume from the utility and electricity you produce and send back to the grid.

Bottom line: You only pay for the amount of electricity you consume that is beyond your production.

When you are producing electricity

When your solar panels produce electricity during the day that electricity is consumed directly in your home or business.

When you are not producing electricity

At night you purchase electricity from the utility.

The scenario on the left is a simplified version of what happens, and would be the case when you are using exactly the same amount of electricity as your solar panels are producing. Throughout the day your electricity consumption changes as you turn appliances on and off and your panels' production changes as the sun moves through the sky.

What happens when you are gone during the day?

When your solar panels produce excess electricity during the day that electricity is sent to nearby homes or businesses. Similarly, if you produce less than you consume the excess is purchased from the utility.

How these transfers are accounted for

The new meter measures the amount of electricity sent to the grid and subtracts that from the amount taken in from the grid.

If a customer produces more electricity than is consumed during a single month the excess can be carried forward and applied to the next month's bill. However, a key point for customers in Idaho to be aware of is that utility companies do not compensate customers for excess electricity if they produce more than they use during the course of a year.