Net Metering

If the renewable energy system produces more energy than is needed on site, the utility meter runs backward, and if the load on site is greater, then the meter runs forward. Then the bill is determined at the end of the time period, which is generally 1 month. If the renewable energy system produced more energy over the billing period than was used on site, the utility company pays the avoided cost. Most of the states have net metering, which ranges from 10 to 1,000 kW, with most in the 10 to 100 kW range [40].

In general, net metering did not increase the sale of wind turbines because the small wind turbines, 10-50 kW, are not cost-competitive with retail electricity. Larger-sized wind turbines can be cost-competitive for users with large loads, where all the electricity is used on site. Because the value set for the avoided cost is generally only equal to the fuel adjustment cost, you want to use that energy on site, as that displaces energy at the retail rate. Also, if the time period could be set longer than 1 month, net metering would be more useful to the producer. This is especially true for irrigation, where the large demand is in the summer, and that is the period of low winds for most of the United States.

Of course, utility companies do not like net metering because it increases the billing problem, and the utilities say that one group of customers is subsidizing another group of customers. With electric restructuring, utilities are worried that large customers will find cheaper electricity, and then rates will rise for residential customers. Does that mean that many residential customers are subsidized today?

Renewable Energy 101

Renewable Energy 101

Renewable energy is energy that is generated from sunlight, rain, tides, geothermal heat and wind. These sources are naturally and constantly replenished, which is why they are deemed as renewable. The usage of renewable energy sources is very important when considering the sustainability of the existing energy usage of the world. While there is currently an abundance of non-renewable energy sources, such as nuclear fuels, these energy sources are depleting. In addition to being a non-renewable supply, the non-renewable energy sources release emissions into the air, which has an adverse effect on the environment.

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