Solar panels are here to fulfill all the energy requirements of the residential as well as the commercial sectors. Sometimes, however, solar panels end up generating more energy than is required. Since the energy produced is dispatchable, there is no way the consumers can store it for future use.
So, what should be done in such scenarios? This dilemma brings us to a term that is unique to most people i.e., net metering. In this article we will deep dive into understanding what is net-metering.
By definition, net metering allows you to sell the excess energy produced by the solar panels making a huge, bulky expensive panel system having a monetary incentive.
What is Net-metering?
Net-metering is a billing structure for consumers to feed excess electricity units back to the grid, in exchange for credits of electricity contributed. It can drastically reduce electricity bills by exporting the extra units.
Solar panels convert energy from the sun into electricity. An inverter installed, converts the electricity produced by the solar panels from direct current (DC) to alternating current (AC) which is used in your home and business. A Bi-directional meter measures the used and excess energy produced by the panels. The excess energy produced by your solar panels not used goes back to the national grid. This way the customers earn on bill-credits for the extra energy they export to the grid. The customer is billed for the difference between the energy they purchased from the grid and the energy credits they have earned.
So, let’s see how net-metering in Pakistan works by explaining with an example of a house using electricity produced by a PV system on the rooftop. The electricity produced will be more than the need of the house during daylight time. If the house owner has installed a net meter, then the electricity meter will run backward. If the meter continues to run backward, the bill sent by WAPDA to the consumer will be a negative amount. Customers are only charged for their “net” energy utility.
Advantages of Net-Metering
Net-metering, a term which is still very foreign for many of us but is attracting a significant audience particularly those who are interested in sustainable development and reducing the carbon footprint. Net-metering offers huge benefits for homeowners like:
- The system is very simple and needs nearly no action on the owner’s part. After initial installation, Net-metering offers monetary benefits for excess energy, with no extra installation or storage system, thus resulting in reduced electricity bills.
- It helps the owners and businesses to contribute energy and take away the pressure from the grid. This is often very helpful during the peak consumption period.
- With net-metering, one solar-equipped home will primarily power many different homes. On a bigger scale, neighborhoods adopting solar power might become self-sufficient.
- It offers consumers an easy, effective role to play in energy production. Solar panel installers will contribute to their surroundings by preserving natural resources and cutting back energy waste as a result.
Well, it is safe, stable, and sustainable.
How net-metering works in Pakistan?
Two important questions still require an answer:
- What is net-metering in Pakistan?
- How does this benefit the consumer?
Well, Net-metering in Pakistan is an electricity policy for consumers, where the extra units produced are sold to NEPRA for monetary benefits. In September 2015, NEPRA issued its net-metering rules and regulations for the electricity distribution companies throughout the country to buy excess units of electricity from a consumer, and net them off against the units consumed from the grid. As per these rules, any consumer of the national grid who has a three-phase connection will avail net-metering facilities.
The net-metering facility is available countrywide and applying for it is not much of a hassle.
- Any consumer who meets the requirements as per NEPRA’s rules and regulations can submit an application for net-metering to its local distribution company.
- The distribution company will access the application for all the required documents.
- After accessing your application, your local distribution company will send you a copy of the agreement between the applicant and the distribution company to NEPRA along with the application for issuance of a generation license.
- If the applicant requires any up-gradation, the distribution company will issue a Connection charge estimate.
- After clearing all the fees, the distribution company will install and commission the proposed interconnection facility.
With the entire hustle-bustle going on about sustainable power, the electricity produced by the PV system is still hard to store for later usage. Net-metering provides us with an opportunity to supply the excess power generated back to the grid, and when solar electricity is not sufficient, power can be drawn from the grid, thus creating a two-way opportunity.
This makes net-metering in Pakistan a favorable and reliable incentive. If you want to know more about solar energy and net-metering, get in touch with us at Solarsalar