When you go solar, you’re still going to be connected to the grid and you’re going to need to know how net metering works. Net metering policy varies state to state, however the basics behind the policy are very similar. Here’s how it works. During the day, your solar system produces energy and sends it through your panel box. Some of this energy will be immediately used in your house and the rest will flow back out on to the grid. When the energy you produce is going onto the grid, your electric meter will actually spin backwards and decrease your net usage and you will essentially receive a credit from your utility company. At night, since your solar system won’t produce any energy, you’ll start using energy from the grid again and your meter will spin forward again, increasing your net usage.

At the end of the billing cycle, the net amount of electricity used is what is charged to your account. This amount may be negative or positive, so you can either get a credit or a charge on your account.

Once you go solar in some utilities, you’ll only pay for your electricity once a year, which is known as the true up period. The same way net metering works day-to- day, it can work month to month, where your negative bills help cancel out positive bills, leaving you to only pay the “net” amount for the year.

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