Members installing renewable electric generation projects at their homes can meet some or all of their own energy needs. They can further reduce their own energy costs and add energy to Sun River Electric’s electric distribution system through net-metering.Net-metering is a special installation that allows any surplus energy generated by the member’s system to go back on the utility electric system and allows the member to receive “credit” for the electricity that can be “banked” for future use. The member’s meter measures the electricity the member uses from the utility system, and the reverse kilowatt hours (kWh) the member’s system puts back.
In brief, a net metering system is one that:
- Has a generating capacity of not more than 10 (ten) kilowatts (kW)
- Uses as its fuel renewable resources; defined to be solar, wind, small hydropower, biomass, or fuel cells.
- Is located on the member-generator’s premises.
- Operates in parallel with the SREC distribution system.
- Is intended primarily to offset part or all of the customer-generator’s requirements for electricity at the account where the generation is installed.
Net metering allows homeowners to receive the full value for the kWhs that their renewable energy system produces. The term, net metering, refers to the method of accounting for the electricity production of a renewable energy system. Net metering allows homeowners with such systems to use any excess electricity they produce to offset their electric bill. As the homeowner’s system produces electricity, the kilowatts are first used for any electric load in the home. If more electricity is produced from the system than is needed by the homeowner, the extra kilowatts are fed into the utility grid.
At the end of the month, if a member has generated more electricity than they used, the utility credits (banks) the net kilowatt-hours produced at the retail power rate. If the member uses more electricity than they generate, they pay the difference. The annual billing period for net metering begins and ends with the cooperative’s October billing cycle for wind generators and the March billing cycle for solar generators. Any remaining unused kilowatt-hour credits accumulated during the previous 12 months will be granted to SREC without any compensation to the member-generator.
Net metering allows homeowners who are not home, when their systems are producing electricity, to still receive the full value of that electricity without having to install a battery storage system. The power grid acts as the customer’s battery backup, which saves the customer the added expense of purchasing and maintaining a battery system.
Sun River Electric adopts the Interconnection Guidelines as passed by Montana Electric Cooperatives' Association. If you are interested in reviewing a copy of this document, please contact Brad at 467-2527 or 1-800-452-7516.
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