Generating electricity using a small, renewable energy system fits the circumstances and values of some homeowners or small business owners. Although it takes time and money to research, buy and maintain such a system, it can provide a sense of independence and help the environment.
A small, renewable energy system can be used to supply some or all of your electricity needs. Some people connect their systems to the grid and use them to reduce the amount of conventional power supplied to them through the grid.Through a process called Net Metering, any power generated from a renewable energy system in excess of the electricity used at that location, can either be sold to the local utility or be used to earn a credit to reduce the cost of electricity purchased from the utility.
Net Metering uses a single, bi-directional meter to record both electricity you draw from the grid and the excess electricity your system feeds back into the grid. If, at the end of the month, you've used more electricity than your system has produced, you pay retail price for that extra electricity. If you've produced more than you've used, your account is credited for the amount of excess electricity. The balance of any net extra electricity your system generates can be carried from month to month for up to one year.
For standard residential net metering applications, the maximum generator size is 10 kW. Residential generators as large as 20 kW are allowed, but those larger than 10 kW may, in the future, be subject to paying a monthly standby charge in addition to the normal monthly Access charge. The maximum allowable generator size for those on nonresidential tariffs is 500 kW. For Net Metering purposes, members may own and operate, or contract with someone else to own and/or operate a renewable fuel generator that:
- uses as its total fuel source sunlight, wind, falling water, sustainable biomass, energy from waste, wave motion, tides, or geothermal power;
- is located on his premises and is connected to the customer’s wiring on the customer’s side of its interconnection with the distributor;
- is interconnected and operated in parallel with an electric company’s transmission and distribution facilities;
- is primarily intended to offset part or all of the member/customer’s own electricity requirements.
When considering installing a Net Metering system, members should carefully review and understand the Virginia State Corporation Commission’s Regulations Governing Net Energy Metering. REC members who have decided to pursue Net Metering should submit our Net Metering Notification Form.
Safety is REC's utmost concern when it comes to Net Metering. The Net Metering participant's generation must disconnect from the utility power system whenever an outage occurs. This prevents the member's generation from energizing REC's facilities. A power line that, under normal circumstances, would be dead, but is actually energized by a Net Metering system can pose a serious hazard to REC workers or to anyone else who comes in contact with the line.
E-mail Lee Brock for questions regarding Net Metering.
PLEASE NOTE: The Notification form should be submitted before construction begins. The Certification form should be submitted after county inspection approval.