How Will I Save on My Electric Bills?
The process is called “Net Metering” a fancy word for your meter spinning backwards. Assuming your system is sized correctly, there should be times during the day when your system produces more electric than you use. This normally happens during the days when most are not at home (school, work, etc.) or using minimal amounts of electric. If your system is overproducing at the time it sends the electric back to the grid for others to use. Your meter will spin backwards and you are credited for that amount at the same rate LIPA sells electric to you. When it gets dark and your system shuts down, you then purchase electric from LIPA as you normally do now however the amount of credit you accumulated during the day is now offsetting what you use at night similar to a battery.
On a month to month basis, most Solar PV Systems produce their best during the Spring months from March to June. This is the time when the days are getting longer are generally sunnier and you have minimal electric usage such as the Air Conditioning not running and the pool not being open yet. During these months your should overproduce on a regular basis. Each month when your meter is read if the amount is lower than what it was last month the difference in placed into an “Energy Credit Bank” on your bill. As each month passes you will continue to add up credit kilowatt hours of energy as long as you continue overproducing.
When late June comes along and you open the pool up and start using the Air Conditioning, you will find in most cases, you will be using more electric than you produce from your Solar PV system. If your meter reading is now positive at the end of the month you will begin to take back some of the energy from the energy credit bank. Each month you will continue to do this until the banks balance is zero at which you will begin to pay for any electric used at the regular rate.
Just a reminder, you will always pay an amount each month to LIPA. They still will charge you 17 cents a day service charge for the meter and overhead lines. If for each month you have a negative reading on your meter you should not be paying more than $5.00 to $7.00 for that charge.
If you are somewhat energy conscious the amount you have accumulated in your energy credit bank should carry you through to the fall when you begin to shut down the pool and Air Conditioning. At this point your system should begin to accumulate credits again and you would have enjoyed the entire Summer with free electricity.
At the end of the year, any excess credits that are still left in the bank will bought back from LIPA at a wholesale rate of usually 9 cents a kilowatt. Your bank will then be zeroed and the whole process starts over again next year. This process is called reconciliation.
Each homeowners reconciliation period differs from others. Your reconciliation period usually begins the month after LIPA “sets” the new net meter and lasts for 12 months. If you are unhappy with your reconciliation date, LIPA gives you a “one time” opportunity to change it. Be aware give yourself at least one year of readings before you make that decision. You only get one chance to change it forever.