June 2016 | Shine Solar

Month: June 2016

 

What is net-metering? Why is it important? How does it work?

Energy Meter  
 Our world runs off of technology and because of that we depend on electricity to power everything we use!  Solar energy plays a growing and important role in our nation’s energy and because of that, electric utilities have been leading the solar charge.  If you didn’t know already, solar power is the most abundant renewable energy resource we have available on Earth.  So let’s channel that energy and use it to our advantage!  Today we’ll cover a topic that is widely used in the solar industry – but to normal folks (such as ourselves) it’s a term that is not widely recognized.  I’m here to help break down net-metering into three simple things: What it is, why it’s awesome, and how it works.
Let’s begin:
The What: Net-metering is a billing option provided by electric utilities for consumers who “self-generate” their own electricity.  Simply put, it enables self-generating customers to sell excess electricity to the utility company.
The Why: By participating in net-metering, you can reduce the amount of money you spend each year on energy.
The How: Utility customers who can generate their own electricity from solar are able to sell the electricity they don’t use back to the “grid” in exchange for “credits” on their bill.
Just imagine this: Every day when the sun rises; tens of thousands of households and businesses utilize the sun’s amazing energy, thus helping them to be energy self-sufficient.  They’re saving money on their bills while helping the environment.  Of course, how solar works for one neighbor might be different than how it works for others.  It all has to do with how much electricity their solar system generates and how much they consume on a daily, monthly, and annual basis.
Sometimes these households might produce more power than they use.  When this happens the energy surplus is sent back into the “grid.”  Other times these homes and businesses might use more power than their solar panels can generate, so depending on their consumption, they might end up with a charge on their upcoming bill.
These households can also export their electricity to the “grid” when rates are higher and can use electricity when prices are lower during certain periods of the day, like at night (commonly called Time-of-Use).  In this case, the household might actually get a credit for the month even though they’ve used more energy than they’ve exported.  Credits that accumulate in a given month can offset charges the households receive in other months.  These credits are called: Net energy metering (NEM)!
To make sure you have the full picture, these homes and businesses will receive a regular monthly bill that includes a minimum electric service charge as well as a NEM statement with monthly and annual snapshots of their charges and credits.  Then every 12 months, approximately on the solar system’s install date, they get a “true-up” statement that settles all the charges and credits they’ve received over the past year – If they have a balance remaining it tells them what amount is due.  If they have a credit remaining, then it’s reset to zero and nothing is owed.  It also indicates if these homes and businesses are eligible for net surplus compensation if they generated more energy than they consumed in total over the year.
But whatever kind of solar household or business you are, there is one more thing to know.  Everyone with solar can save money on energy while making a difference for the environment.  That’s just a quick look at what you can expect when you use solar as a renewable resource.
Watch for our next post about valuable tax credits and incentives that only rooftop solar customers can claim! This is the cherry on top for our customers!

Cool Down With Solar This Summer: Beat the Heat & Save Money

We’re halfway through June and already starting to feel the sultry heat of summer settle in. With Arkansas’ two steamiest months right around the corner, there is still time to plan ahead and beat mother nature at her game.
When the word “solar” comes to mind, one might think of NASA’s space program or the handy device that charges your battery-powered accessories. What you might not know is solar energy is actually easily accessible, and you can use the sun’s energy for some pretty expensive stuff, like keeping your house at a comfortable 65 degrees on a triple digit day.
On average, households in the Northwest Arkansas area spend anywhere between $1,100-$1,500 in electricity yearly, with an increase of 16% spent during the summer months alone, based on annual reports from Carrol Electric. That’s nearly an extra $50.00 a month flying out of your pocket from June-September! Now imagine putting that cash back into your pocket and saving it for that trip to Cancun you’ve been planning. By going solar, you can potentially be free of your power bill, and what we like to call, being “energy self-sufficient.”
But I know what you’re thinking, “What are the long-term effects of this?” Usually, when something sounds too good to be true (like saving a ton of money on a utility bill-or not having one at all), well, it is.  But by using solar energy to power and cool your home or business, you can start saving money from day one, increase the value of your home, and also get a kickback from the federal government in tax credits!
Look out for our next few blog posts as we start to break each one of these topics down. Solar out!

Solar Panels Southwest Missouri

When considering the installation of solar panels in Southwest Missouri, there are several new terms that you will need to familiarize yourself with so you can better understand how to save money with your new system. Among these terms are net-metering and connecting to the grid.
Net-Metering
Net-metering refers to the process that allows you to use the electricity generated from your solar panel system before you use energy provided by your utility company. If you produce more energy than you use, the excess energy is then sent back to the grid through your meter. This process causes your meter to move backwards, thereby generating credit on your behalf. Depending upon the amount of energy that you use each month, this process can either lower your monthly electric bill or possibly even result in a credit. If you receive a credit, it is referred to as net-metering. Learn more about How Solar Works.
Connecting to the Grid in Southwest Missouri
Unless you decide to purchase a stand-alone system that includes batteries for you to store your excess power, you will need to remain connected to the utility company’s grid. By remaining connected to the grid, your electric company will gather the excess energy that your solar panels produce during the day and will then seamlessly provide you with the energy you need at night or on those days that are extremely cloudy.
Of course, even though you are connected to the grid, you still might want to utilize a battery backup system. This way, if the power from your utility company goes out, you will still have power for your home for a few hours until the problem is resolved.