Old Dominion Innovations’ Solar Energy systems are designed to meet the demand of the consumer, so knowing what kind of system you want is important.
Do you mainly want to save money, or offset your carbon footprint? Then you probably want a “net metered” solar energy system.
“Net Metering” refers to an arrangement between a “generating facility” (in this case a customer with a Solar Array) and an electric utility, under which the utility provides a credit for the generated power the customer feeds back to the grid. This credit is typically applied to the customer’s power bill to offset charges for power that the consumer buys from the utility.
Net metered Solar offers the highest financial return of the various configurations, as it qualifies for the 30% federal tax credit, as well as generating a monthly credit from the utility for all of the power produced. As a general rule for residential solar, a net metered installation that offsets a customer’s average annual power usage will result in the fastest ROI.
Net metering was designed to incentivize private investment in renewable energy technologies. Under the Energy Policy Act of 2005 all public electric utilities must make Net Metering available upon request to their customers.
In Virginia, privately owned utilities- such as Electric Co Operatives- can choose to offer Net Metering at their discretion.
All Net Metered, Hybrid, and Off Grid Solar Systems designed and installed by Old Dominion Innovations meet the current requirements for the 30% Federal Renewable Energy tax credit.
Photovoltaic systems also continuously produce Solar Renewable Energy Credits (or SRECs- which are valuable, tradable commodities like stocks).
Terms of the Net Metering arrangement between the owner and their utility will vary. This can range from a flat credit to offset the consumer’s power use, to a set or variable rate payable per kWh.
The availability, limitations and structure of Net Metering programs are set by the utility. The financial returns of Net-Metering will be factored in when ODI designs the System to ensure that the maximum available return is achieved.
There are many reasons a client would consider an investment in a Net-Metered Solar System versus an Off Grid Solar Energy System.
Because the home or business remains tied to the Utility for it’s electric supply, there is more flexibility when sizing a Net Metered Solar System compared to Off Grid Systems. That means a consumer can start with a smaller system and plan to add on panels over time if desired.
Net Metered Solar offers the same environmental benefits as any other Solar Energy System. In fact, there is a case to be made that the impact of Net Metering is actually superior to Off Grid Solar because there are no concerns about environmentally safe battery manufacture and disposal.
By offsetting a consumer’s power consumption and energy bills at a lower cost, a Net-Metered Solar Energy System offers faster realization of financial benefits than Off Grid Solar.
Because the consumer retains access to the Utility for electricity, there is no worry that power demand will exceed the supply generated by their Solar Panels resulting in outages.
Depending on the owner’s goals, budget, and power consumption, properly sized Net Metered Systems typically reach payback at between 10-14 years after installation. Experts agree that today’s panels should produce electricity for 30-40 years or more. That equals decades of free power.
Homeowners and businesses with Solar Energy Systems are also protected from rising energy costs- instead, they’re investing in an asset that will add significant value to their property should they decide to sell.
It’s helpful to know that under Virginia Code 67-700, community associations and HOAs may not prohibit homeowners from installing Solar Energy Systems on their property.