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​Net Metering Overview


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Net metering is associated with customers who generate at least a portion of the electricity they use through means of solar PV, wind, biomass from animal waste, fuel cell, or other qualifying renewable energy generating systems.

Customers that generate their own electricity, and are connected to the utility's distribution grid, offset electricity that would otherwise be purchased from the utility.

There may be times when the customer's system generates more electricity than the home needs. In these cases, a credit is issued to the customer's account for the extra power that can be used during the following month(s) until the annual true-up. In other words, the customer will only pay for the energy that PSE provides.

Benefits of net metering:

  • Creates a reduction in electricity bills.
  • Net metering ensures that the customer's system is connected to the utility's grid, so even during cloudy or windless days, there is always a dependable source of electricity.

How net metering works

A net meter is capable of measuring both the electricity supplied by the utility as well as any excess supplied by the customer's system back to the grid.

One of the primary benefits of net metering is that when a customer's home requires less electricity, like when everyone is at work or school, the system may still produce electricity. When the system is connected to the grid, that electricity is being put back into the grid. The difference between what the home uses from PSE versus what they system generates is the "net" in net metering.

Detailed requirements can be found in the Electric Schedule 150 Tariff and the Electric Schedule 150 Attachment A agreement, or can be requested from a PSE Energy Advisor.

Information for system installers:

All customer generation system applications and schematics should be approved in writing by PSE before a system is installed. Learn More. »

Solar PV Generating System graphic Solar PV Generating System graphic

Typical generating systems include:

  • The mode of generation, such as solar PV, wind generators, small-scale hydro, and biomass.
  • An inverter, which converts the DC (direct current) energy produced to AC (alternating current).
  • A disconnection device, which ensures system safety for PSE employees and customers.
    The type of device depends on the total output capacity of the system.

Net metering resources

Here are a few of many websites and guides that offer useful renewable energy information:

Glossary of net metering terms

The following terms may be helpful as you go about estimating and constructing your electrical generating system.

Customer-Generator

PSE customers who have enrolled in PSE's net metering program and have signed an interconnection agreement with PSE, becoming potential suppliers (generators) of electricity to PSE.

Inverter

Inverters convert the DC (Direct Current) voltage that the generator creates to AC (Alternating Current) at either 120 volts or 240 volts. The inverter sends the AC voltage into the home's circuit breaker panel, where it is distributed to the home or electricity grid through the net meter.

Hydroelectric generation or "micro hydro"

An electrical generating system using water as the means to turn an electrical generator. These systems sometimes use a waterwheel, similar to those used since medieval times. They can have a vast range of sizes and operating characteristics.

Net metering

The process of calculating the electricity used by a Customer-Generator versus the amount of electricity generated by a qualifying generating system owned/operated by the customer-generator.

Solar PV

Solar systems using PhotoVoltaic (PV) modules. These modules are typically made out of silicon and can be found in many commonly-used products, including calculators. The modules are assembled into arrays or panels that are capable of generating anywhere from 100 to over 200 watts of electricity per array. Typical solar PV system capacities range from one kilowatt (or 1,000 watts) to over 10 kilowatts.

To learn more terms, visit: