Guide to Going Solar » Net Metering

Net Metering

Net metering allows you to benefit from your solar system not only on sunny days, but also at night and during darker winter months.

One of the great incentives for solar in our service area is net metering (also known as Net Energy Metering, or NEM).

Residential solar systems typically export at least 50% of the energy they produce to the grid because solar production typically exceeds household use during many afternoons (of course, just the opposite is true at night).

With net metering, your utility gives you a credit for any exported electricity so that you benefit from all the electricity your solar system produces.

How Net Metering Works

Net metering allows you to get credit for excess energy you produce during the day, which you can use to offset the cost of energy at times your system isn’t producing enough to cover your usage, such as at night.  It doesn’t stop there, though. Net metering also helps with seasonality. The chart below shows an example of a home’s solar production and energy usage over the course of a year:

Net metering: electricity production vs usage graph

From March to September, this system produces more every month than this customer uses, which is fairly typical for homes in Illinois and Wisconsin. With net metering, customers can carry over credits not only from day to night, but also from season to season. In the case above, the homeowner will be using credits built up over the summer throughout the winter (until the following spring). If you’re looking for more detail, we’ve written a blog post about how to understand your bill with net metering.

How Net Metering Works

How Net Metering Works diagram (vertical)

Net metering allows you to get credit for excess energy you produce during the day, which you can use to offset the cost of energy at times your system isn’t producing enough to cover your usage, such as at night.  It doesn’t stop there, though. Net metering also helps with seasonality. The chart below shows an example of a home’s solar production and energy usage over the course of a year:

Net metering: electricity production vs usage graph

From March to September, this system produces more every month than this customer uses, which is fairly typical for homes in Illinois and Wisconsin. With net metering, customers can carry over credits not only from day to night, but also from season to season. In the case above, the homeowner will be using credits built up over the summer throughout the winter (until the following spring). If you’re looking for more detail, we’ve written a blog post about how to understand your bill with net metering.

“Our panels are making all the electrical power, carbon-free, for us and the extra is stored with ComEd through the net metering program. We are storing away sunshine for cloudy days! If ComEd power goes out, our solar panels will continue to give us electricity! Our panels give us the energy first and any extra goes to ComEd for storage that will be given back to us when our electricity demand exceeds what the panels can give us.”

KATE C., CRETE, ILLINOIS

Does it Matter What Electric Utility I Have?

Net metering rules and rates vary by utility. The vast majority of customers in our Illinois service territory are served by ComEd, which provides net metering credits to offset the supply portion of your bill. Our page about ComEd net metering describes how net metering will impact your bill.

We also serve customers served by municipal utilities in Naperville, Batavia, Geneva, St. Charles, and Winnetka, and customers in Wisconsin served by We Energies or Alliant Energy. Reach out for more information about your specific utility.

How to Enroll in Net Metering

Certasun will handle all the details and costs of your grid interconnection, which includes your net metering application.

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