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Net Metering

What is Net Metering?

Net metering is a program that lets you install a small renewable energy system, such as solar and wind, to reduce your electric bills and have less impact on the electric grid.

You’ll still be connected to us through the grid. That way, in the event that you need more electricity than you’re generating, we can automatically supply it to you.

Likewise, if you create more electricity than you can use, that extra electricity could go into the grid, and you’ll get credit on your bill for it.

You’ll get a special meter called a net meter installed to record the difference between the amount of electricity your system puts into the electric grid, and the amount of electricity you take out of the grid.

Net Meter Displays

Unlike standard electric meters that are installed for non-net metering customers, these electric meters have a number of digital displays that rotate every few seconds on the meter screen. Here are explanations for each of these displays.

Understanding Net Meter Digital Displays

Meter Number – This display shows the meter number that is associated with the net metering customer’s account, and should be identical to the numbers that are printed on the meter itself, right above the digital display screen.
Billing Register – This screen (beginning with “04”) displays the total kWh usage (net consumption and generation) registered by the meter. This is calculated within the meter, as excess kWh generated by the customer and exported to the electric grid is subtracted from the kWh that is imported to the customer from the electric grid. This number is what is used to bill or credit customers.
Segment Screen – This screen (beginning with “888”) displays every LCD segment that can possibly show up on the meter screen. Any missing segment is an indication that the meter is not properly displaying numbers, and needs to be changed. A segment screen check is conducted by our meter readers at every meter read.
Energy Flow – The arrows on the bottom left of the display screen indicate the direction in which the electricity is flowing from the meter. When the blocks and arrow are moving to the left, excess energy that is generated by the customer is being exported to the electric grid. When the blocks and arrow are moving to the right, energy is being imported into the customer’s home from the electric grid.

New York

The following table from New York State Standardized Interconnection Requirements summarizes New York net metering rules.

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New York (PSL §66-j) Net Metering
Solar/Micro-hydroelectricBiogasMicro CHPFuel Cell
Applicable SectorsResidentialNon-ResidentialFarm-WasteResidentialResidentialNon-Residential
Limit on System Size25 kWUp to 2MW1 MW10 kW10 kWUp to 1.5 MW
Remote Net MeteringNo***YesYesNoNo
Limit on Overall Enrollment6% of 2005 Electric Demand per IOU for Solar, Biogas, Micro CHP, Micro-hydroelectric and Fuel Cells combined

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New York (PSL §66-l) Net Metering*
Applicable SectorsResidentialNon-ResidentialFarm-Service Wind
Limit on System Size25 kWUp to 2 kW500 kW
Remote Net MeteringNo**YesYes
Limit on Overall Enrollment3% of 2005 Demand per IOU

*Refer to specific utility tariff leaves for more detailed rules and regulations applicable to net metering.
**Residential customers who own or operate a farm operation as defined by Agriculture and Markets Law §301(11) and locate solar photovoltaic or micro-hydroelectric on property owned or leased by the customer are also eligible for remote net metering.

Details about net metering can be found on page 37 of Service Classification Rider N in Orange and Rockland’s Schedule for Electric Service. Additionally, the New York State Public Service Commission has developed standardized interconnection requirements for customer-owned generation.

For more information, contact Orange & Rockland’s representative.

New Jersey

New Jersey customers are eligible for net metering if the generator(s) is on the customer’s side of the meter and meet the following criteria

  • Using Class I renewable energy sources which include the following:
    • Solar Thermal
    • Photovoltaic
    • Wind
    • Fuel cells powered by renewable fuels
    • Geothermal
    • Wave or Tidal action
    • Methane gas from landfills
    • Methane gas from a biomass facility (provided that the biomass is cultivated and harvested in a sustainable manner)
  • The generating capacity of the customer generator’s facility does not exceed the amount of electricity supplied by the electric power supplier or basic generation service provider to the customer over an annualized period

For more information, contact Rockland Electric Company’s representative.

Frequently Asked Questions

How can I tell if my roof is right for solar panels?

Determine if your roof is appropriate for solar panels by considering these recommended guidelines:

  • The roof is flat or south facing
  • There are minimal roof obstructions from vent fans, HVAC, etc.
  • There is minimal or no shading from adjacent buildings or tall trees
  • The roof is structurally sound and has an expected remaining life of 20 years

If your roof fits these criteria it will be ideal for solar panels. These guidelines do not necessarily rule out other roofs.

Will my system work in the winter or at night?
If there is no available sunlight your solar-energy system will stop working — it simply becomes inactive and the power you use will be provided by the electric grid. This will happen at night as well as during particularly cloudy or stormy days. If there is sun in the winter your system will still produce electricity.
Will my system require maintenance?
Once your solar-energy system is installed there is not any specific, regular maintenance that needs to be performed. It is helpful to wash the panels a few times a year to optimize your system. The panels can be washed with a standard garden hose, but it is important to note that cold water applied to hot panels could cause damage. It is best to wash the panels in the morning before they are exposed to the sun.
How long will my system last?
As your solar PV system ages you can generally expect that the system’s output will decrease by about one percent each year. The majority of new solar-energy systems include a 20-year warranty for problems not related to aging.
Does PCL&P recommend particular vendors or equipment?
In order to obtain all of the available rebates and incentives it is necessary that you work with a NYSERDA certified installer and use specific type-tested equipment. Orange & Rockland recommends that you choose from these lists as both the contractors and the equipment specified have been certified for our electric-service territory.
How much electricity will my PV system generate?

With the help of a certified installer you can configure a solar-energy system that – when it can operate to capacity – is rated to meet your expected needs. The actual amount of electricity the system will be able to generate at any given time is dependent primarily on the availability and intensity of sunlight – without sunlight your system is going to become inactive and will not produce any electricity; on a clear, cool sunny day your system is going to produce at its maximum.

Simply, your system should be designed to coincide with your annual usage, and, given adequate sunlight and roof size, could generate approximately the amount of electricity you require. Any excess produced will be exported back to the grid and purchased by Orange & Rockland (see Net Metering).

What is the difference between PV and solar thermal?

The primary difference between these technologies is the type of energy produced. Solar PV technology captures the sun’s energy and creates electricity, which can be used to power your home. Solar thermal technology does not produce electricity; it harnesses the sun’s energy as a heat source. A common application of solar thermal technology is to supplement a water heater.

Will my system provide emergency power?

Typical installations are unable to supply power during an outage.

For other project specific questions or concerns please contact O&R’s Distributed Generation team at oru_dg@oru.com