What Is Net Metering In Massachusetts? And How Does It Work?

February 10, 2021

While researching the benefits of residential solar power, you will be sure to come across the term, net metering. Net metering is one of the most talked-about discussions (and even debates) with the solar industry regarding residential solar panel installations and usage. 

In today’s blog, let’s take an in-depth look at net metering (or net energy metering – NEM), what it is, and how net metering works in Massachusetts. We’ll walk you through everything you need to know to make the best choice possible as to whether or not solar power and net metering are right for your home (spoilers: it probably is). 

What Is Net Metering?

What Is Net Metering?_Graphic

Net metering is one of the most lucrative benefits of solar power, especially residential solar power. Essentially, net metering allows utility companies to utilize your unused electricity in exchange for monthly billing credits.

When solar panels produce and store more electrical energy than your home uses at any given time, that energy is transferred back into the grid, causing your meter to run backward. These high-energy conversions typically occur during the afternoon, when solar panels receive the most direct sunlight. 

Myth About Net Metering_Graphic

Myth: Net Metering Provides Direct Cash Flow

Fact: While net metering provides numerous financial benefits for you and your home, you will not receive cash payments for the excess electricity sent back into the grid. It is essential to understand that net metering provides utility billing credits, which never expire and roll over in Massachusetts.

How Does Net Metering Work In Massachusetts?

Many states in the country have different rules and regulations surrounding net metering practices. According to Mass.gov’s official net metering regulation, “If you are a customer of a regulated electric company (Eversource, National Grid, or Unitil), you may net meter.”

So, a pretty standard interpretation of net metering, allowing solar panel owners flexibility when it comes to the practice. 

How Are Billing Credits Calculated In Massachusetts?

Here’s a quick and basic breakdown of how Massachusetts calculates net metering credits and billing, straight from the source.

Net monthly consumption = (total electricity consumed in a month) – (total electricity generated in a month).

If your net consumption is positive, you must pay an electricity bill to your electric company for the excess consumption at the end of the billing period.

If your net consumption is negative, you will receive a net metering credit on your electricity bill. Therefore, you will not owe the electric company money during that billing period. The net metering credits appear as a dollar amount (not as kilowatt hours) on your bill. The credits never expire and will rollover to the next billing period. (source: mass.gov)

This simple breakdown reinforces the idea that solar power in Massachusetts is beneficial to both your home, the environment, the local economy, and, most of all, your wallet.

Benefits of Net Metering

Benefits of Net Metering in Massachusetts_graphic

Net Metering Gives You Control Of Your Energy Bill

The main benefit of net metering is the amount of control it gives the homeowner over their energy usage and bill. No longer do you have to rely on the ebb and flow fluctuations of energy pricing to provide clean, sustainable energy within your home.

Use Grid Energy When You Need It Most

Billing credits allow you to use those credits when you need them the most, during the long winter nights, unrelenting snow or rainstorms, etc. 

As the Solar Energy Industries Association puts it, “during the day, most solar customers produce more electricity than they consume; net metering allows them to export that power to the grid and reduce their future electric bills.”

Create Jobs, Save Money, and Save The Environment

Net metering creates hefty benefits, increasing the demand for solar power. When the demand for solar energy rises, the solar industry expands itself, bringing about brand new technologies, innovations, and creating jobs. 

As SEIA.org states, “Today, the solar industry employs more than 250,000 American workers in large part due to strong state net metering policies which have allowed the solar industry to thrive.”

Net metering also places less pressure on your local electricity companies and the local grids that feed power into your community, creating a less-chaotic demand curve during peak hours. This prevents utility companies and the community grid from getting overloaded during these peak electricity hours.

Protecting Net Metering

Unfortunately, while net metering is proven to push numerous benefits for residential and commercial property owners, electrical grids, and the solar power industry as a whole, there are some utility companies across the country that view net metering as lost revenue.

Quoted in an article published on greentechmedia.com, Sean Gallagher, the Solar Energy Industries Association’s vice president of state affairs, explains that, “You see a fair amount of conflict around net metering policy in various states [and] various markets. They play out a bit differently, but the overall theme is that it remains a struggle to maintain a fair compensation scheme for solar customers.”

As the popularity of residential solar panels and solar systems grow, it’s important to let our voices be heard in support of net metering and the solar industry as a whole. And, while Massachusetts currently represents an excellent environment for net metering, supporting the industry is the best way to ensure that net metering and solar power continue to become ingrained within our everyday power consumption, protecting our dollars and our planet.

Have More Questions About Net Metering?

Well, you have certainly come to the right place. Whether you are a solar enthusiast, considering purchasing solar panels, or already have solar panels installed on your home, if you have any questions regarding net metering, please feel free to reach out to SunPower by BlueSel professionals. 

As an officially licensed SunPower Master Dealers solar panel installation company in Massachusetts, we are professionally positioned to answer all inquiries regarding net metering the possible benefits for you, your home, and your family.