Until recently, solar buyers in Durham, CT had the opportunity to enjoy the benefits of a net metering system, which rewarded them based on the amount of solar power they fed into the grid. Some provisions of the program courted controversy, so the Connecticut Public Utilities Regulatory Authority (PURA) replaced it with a new system called Residential Renewable Energy Solutions (RES) Program.
The RES program offers homeowners two ways to earn from selling their solar power to their utility company – Netting Tariff and Buy All Tariff.
As the name indicates, the Buy All Tariff allows solar owners to sell all their solar power to their utility company and get fixed payments, which are disbursed quarterly.
However, a netting tariff would be the best fit for most homeowners, and therefore, it will be the focus of this post.
How Netting Tariff Works
When you subscribe to the netting tariff, your solar installer will replace your electricity meter with a bi-directional meter to measure the amount of power you consume and the amount you supply to the utility company. Moving forward, your monthly utility bill is generated based on the “net” power you consume.
To put it another way, you will get paid by the utility company for your solar power at the same rate they supply power to you.
Interestingly, if you feed more power to the utility company than what you consumed, then your incentive will roll over to the next month’s bill. In fact, if you keep accumulating more incentives each month, then they can roll over indefinitely. Unlike the erstwhile net metering system, you won’t be forced to sell within a set timeframe, and that’s a good thing.
What’s more, netting tariff subscribers also earn 1 renewable energy certificate (REC) for every kWh of solar power they generate. And, Eversource customers in Durham are paid $31.80 for every REC they sell to the utility company. At the moment, United Illuminating customers do not have this option. So, Eversource customers enjoy an advantage here.
To demonstrate the impact of RECs, consider a 10 kW solar system that generates about 11 kWh of solar power annually. Such a system earns 11 RECs over the year, which amounts to $349.8. That’s a decent incentive by itself, but when you look at the big picture, you realize that amount accumulates each year for 20 years flat and fetch you close to $7,000!
Of course, we’re ignoring factors like solar panel degradation and inflation, which affect actual earnings. Still, four-digit earnings for no additional work or investment is a pretty sweet deal.
No matter how you look at it, a netting tariff is a winner!