For example, if any consumer has a solar system in his house that generates more energy than he consumes at home, he can apply for net metering. The electricity meter in a net-metered house works reversely where (instead of consuming units) it can add credits that result in getting paid instead of paying any bill amount.
What is Net Metering?
Net metering is a billing mechanism that allows individuals who generate their electricity from renewable sources, such as solar panels or wind turbines, to sell excess electricity back to the grid. This system is designed to promote renewable energy usage and enable consumers to offset their electricity costs by generating their power.
Let’s say you have solar panels at home that make more electricity than you use. In such a case, you can ask for net metering. With net metering, your electricity meter does something different – instead of using up units, it adds credits. These credits can then be turned into money, so you get paid instead of paying your FESCO bill Online.
How does Net Metering Work?
The net metering works in the following manner:
Installation of Renewable Energy System
First, the consumer installs a renewable energy system, such as solar panels, on their property. This system generates electricity from sunlight or wind.
Connection to the Grid
The renewable energy system is connected to the electric grid through a special meter called a net meter. This meter measures the amount of electricity flowing in both directions: from the grid to the consumer and from the consumer’s renewable energy system to the grid.
When the renewable energy system generates more electricity than the consumer uses at any given time, the excess electricity is fed back into the grid.
Credit for Excess Electricity
The utility company credits the consumer’s account for the excess electricity generated. This credit can offset the consumer’s electricity bill in months when their renewable energy system doesn’t generate enough electricity to meet their needs.
Usage and Billing
At the end of each billing period, the consumer’s electricity usage is measured by subtracting the electricity they generated from the electricity they consumed from the grid. The consumer is billed only for the net electricity consumed, considering any credits earned from surplus electricity generation.
Requirements to Apply for Net Metering
You need a net metering license from NEPRA; then, you can submit net metering applications at the FESCO office. Here are the requirements of the Net Metering application:
- Distributed Generation Interconnection Agreement between Distributed Generator and Distribution Company (Schedule-I)
- Standard Distributed Generation Application Form for Distribution Company (Schedule-II)
- Application for grant of License National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (NEPRA) (Schedule-III)
- Application for Exemption from Section 24 of the Act (Schedule-IV)
- Fee Schedule (Schedule-V)
- Affidavit (On non-judicial paper) (Schedule-VI)
- Generation License Template (Schedule-VII)
- Technical Data of components, including solar modules, inverters, etc.
- Schematic drawings, Single line diagram of the system
- Attested copy of CNIC.
- Copy of last paid electricity bill. (Name of applicant and name mentioned on electricity bill must be same).
- The site plan shows the location of the external disconnect switch.
- Inspection Certificate from approved Installer.
How do you apply for net metering?
Applying for net metering through FESCO involves several steps:
- Contact FESCO – Contact FESCO to inquire about their net metering program and obtain information about the application process.
- Review Requirements – Review the requirements and guidelines provided by FESCO for installing a renewable energy system and participating in net metering.
- Install Renewable Energy System – Install a renewable energy system on your property, ensuring it meets FESCO’s specifications and requirements.
- Submit Application – Complete the net metering application form provided by FESCO and submit it along with any required documents, such as proof of ownership, system specifications, and connection details.
- Inspection and Approval – FESCO will inspect the renewable energy system to ensure it complies with safety and technical standards. Once approved, the system will be connected to the grid, and a net meter will be installed.
- Start Generating Electricity – Once the system is connected, it will begin generating electricity, and you can start earning credits for any surplus electricity fed back into the grid.
Who can Apply for Net Metering?
- Eligibility for net metering is limited to consumers with 3-phase meters installed at their premises.
- The inverters must be of the grid-tied type to qualify for net metering.
- The maximum capacity allowed for net metering facilities is 1000 kW.
Pros and Cons of Net Metering
Everything comes with pros and cons; below are the advantages and disadvantages of net metering:
Advantages of Net Metering
- Cost Savings: Net metering allows consumers to offset their electricity bills by generating power, leading to potential cost savings over time.
- Environmental Benefits: By generating electricity from renewable sources, net metering helps reduce reliance on fossil fuels and lowers greenhouse gas emissions, contributing to environmental sustainability.
- Energy Independence: Net metering enables consumers to become more self-reliant by producing electricity, reducing dependence on the grid and volatile energy markets.
- Incentive for Renewable Energy Adoption: Net metering provides financial incentives for investing in renewable energy systems, promoting the adoption of clean energy technologies.
Disadvantages of Net Metering
- Initial Cost: The upfront cost of installing a renewable energy system can be significant, as a barrier for some consumers.
- Intermittent Generation: Renewable energy generation depends on weather conditions, such as sunlight or wind, which can be unpredictable and intermittent, leading to variability in electricity production.
- Grid Integration Challenges: Integrating distributed renewable energy systems into the grid can present technical challenges like voltage fluctuations and grid stability issues.
- Policy and Regulatory Uncertainty: Changes in net metering policies and regulations can impact the economic viability of renewable energy investments, leading to uncertainty for consumers and investors.
Time Required for the Net Metering Installation Process
The time required for the net metering installation process can vary depending on factors such as the complexity of the renewable energy system, regulatory approvals, and grid connection requirements.
On average, the process can take several weeks to several months, from the initial application to the final connection and commissioning of the system. It is important to plan and allow sufficient time for the installation process to ensure a smooth and timely transition to net metering.
In conclusion, net metering allows consumers to harness renewable energy sources, reduce electricity bills, and contribute to a more sustainable energy future. By understanding how net metering works and the application process and weighing the advantages and disadvantages, consumers can make informed decisions about investing in renewable energy systems and participating in net metering programs offered by utilities like FESCO.