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Pay Yourself (Instead of Your Power Company) First With Net Metering

What is net metering?

Net metering is an agreement that allows you to send the extra power your solar panels generate to the grid and take it back when required. This means if your renewable energy system produces more electricity during the day than you can use, you store that extra electricity on the grid until you need it later that night, on the weekend, or later that year.

How it works

In short, net metering gives you credit for returning solar electricity to the grid, and it offsets electricity you take from the utility in the future – giving you the full economic value of all the solar energy your solar panels produce. If your solar system is sized properly, you can potentially eliminate all of your monthly electric costs.

To become a net-metered customer you need to apply to connect your energy source to the electricity grid. The procedure varies depending on the utility company; however, the basic application procedure remains similar. At Solar X everything that’s required for the net metering including the paperwork, connection fees will be taken care of by us! Our Project Management team will make sure that all the required documents are submitted to the utility company and that the timelines are met up to your expectations.

What are the benefits of net metering?

Utility Bill Savings:

The greatest benefit of net metering is the utility bill savings. Net metering can save tens of thousands of dollars over the lifetime of your solar system.

Shorter Payback periods:

Areas that offer full net metering will have much shorter payback periods than places that don’t. This is because homeowners will be saving more on their electricity bills and thus recouping their investment costs faster.

Eligibility

To be eligible for net metering you need to:

  • generate electricity from renewable sources like solar, with a system you own or operate to meet your own electricity needs
  • meet your electricity distributor’s technical, safety and inspection requirements
  • get any required environmental approvals and municipal building permits (the Ministry of Energy can help you determine what’s required)

 

What happens after your application is approved?

After your application’s approved, and once your renewable energy system is installed and connected to the grid, the electricity distributor will read your meter and calculate your bill by:

  1. measuring the amount of electricity you used from the grid and the amount of electricity you sent to the grid
  2. calculating the value of the electricity you sent to the grid, using the same rates you are charged for using electricity
  3. applying credits to the charges on your bill to reduce what you must pay. If you supplied more electricity than you used and have credits left over, the credits will carry over to your next bill. Credits can be carried over to future bills for up to 12 months (in most provinces)

 

Is net metering available in all provinces across Canada?

All provinces and Territories in Canada offer a net metering / grid-tie power buy-back program. This means that if you generate your own electricity using renewable energy, you can feed your excess energy into the grid in exchange for credits that can be put towards your energy bills.

Ontario

There are various hydro companies in Ontario like Hydro One, Toronto Hydro, Alectra Utilities, London Hydro which offer net metering. We’d like to elaborate more on Hydro One by taking it as an example (other hydro companies are similar to this as well). Hydro One net metering program allows customers to send excess energy back into the distribution system in exchange for credits that can be used to offset the cost of their electricity bill. Excess credits can be carried forward for a consecutive of 12 months. You can also perform a pre-assessment to see if your area has grid space here.

Typically in Ontario, if your generator has a nameplate rating of less than 10 kW, there will be no change to your billing period. Customers with a generator greater than 10 kW in Ontario might need to do a Connection Impact Assessment (CIA) which comes with an extra fee. CIA is a more detailed assessment of a project’s impact to the grid. The results include a technical report outlining project feasibility, technical specifications needed for the project, and the impacts the project would have on the distribution grid.   Our Project Management team will take care of the entire paperwork needed for this process and will have it submitted to the hydro company on your behalf.

Nova Scotia

In this province, your renewable energy generator can be sized to meet, but not exceed your expected yearly electricity consumption up to a nameplate capacity of 100 kW. There is no application and if you generate more electricity than you can use, these surplus kilowatt-hours (kWh) will be “banked” and applied to your next bill to offset any electricity drawn from the grid. If any surplus kilowatt-hours remain on the account at the end of a 12-month cycle, you will be paid for that energy at the same rate you pay for electricity from the grid.

British Colombia 

Areas of British Columbia serviced by BC Hydro are allowed net metering for up to 100 kW. At each annual anniversary on March 1 the customer is paid a market price, calculated as daily average mid-Columbia price for a previous year. FortisBC which serves an area in South Central BC also allows net-metering for up to 50 kW. Customers are paid their existing retail rate for any net energy they produce. The City of New Westminster, which has its own electrical utility, also allows net metering.

Saskatchewan

SaskPower offers net metering to all customers who generate energy independently with renewable technology. You receive credit for any excess energy you put back into the grid at the same rate you purchase energy when generation isn’t enough to suffice your consumption. The current pricing credit is of 7.5 cents per kWh until Mar. 31, 2026 and the project can be up to 100 kW (DC).

The net metering application process is similar in other provinces like Alberta, PEI, Manitoba as well. Our project management team is experienced in dealing with net metering approvals in different provinces all over Canada and will make sure that the required permits and approvals are obtained before the solar installation. Your experience is our top priority and our PM team will ensure that all of your questions are answered and the timelines are being met.

Switch to Solar Today!

Be energy independent, save thousands on energy costs and go green by transitioning to solar today. Use this link to book a complimentary assessment and learn more about the available incentives in Ontario and the value solar can provide to your home!

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