Net Metering & the Energy Policy Act of 2005

In 2005 the federal covernment passed the Energy Policy Act of 2005.  This was a wide ranging set of laws but the important one to solar is Net Metering.

It says is that a utility must allow for you to connect a renewable energy source to their grid.  This source must meet reasonable standards, e.g. UL certification.  Additionally it provides that if you overgenerate at certain times that the meter run backwards to credit the power for later use.  The period the credit lasts is not defined but is usually a year.  The utility decides when that year starts and ends.  The utility is allowed to charge a fee for the connection, usually small but in Nevada they have made it a large fee to discourage solar. States may also allow a utility to pay less for the power you generate than they charge for it when used later.  Nevada is the only current state allowing this and this has stopped all new solar in Nevada.

The utility may pay you if you generate more power than you use during the year or they may decide not to.

Some municipally owned utiltities are exempt from the law.  You should always talk to your utiltity first before proceeding.  If necessary you may need to educate them about the law.

States may pass laws in the future limiting the benefits of solar but in most cases existing systems are grandfathered in under the old rules. Not in Nevada!