Know about net metering and gross metering technology

Difference between Net Metering and Gross Metering

Net Metering and Gross Metering are terms that have been generating a lot of interest and curiosity over the past few years.

The World has been facing an energy crisis from the last four decades. Oil, Gas, Nuclear and other Non-Renewable sources are limited, and the pace at which we are consuming would put humanity back into the Stone Age. Of all the Renewable energy resources, solar energy is more readily available across the world-it comes from a never ending source, the Sun. That is why all world leaders are giving greater emphases to solar energy.

Solar power systems are mainly classified into two broad parts:

  • Off Grid systems
  • Grid connected systems or On-grid systems

Off-grid system is meant for areas where there are no local electricity grids available. Temporary camps, army front posts, camping areas, etc. are some of the examples where these systems can be used.

Grid connected system or commonly known as an On-Grid system is connected to the main electricity grid available in the locality. Usual day to day loads run on solar energy produced by the system. Utility supply takes care of the entire deficit caused by less production or increased consumption.

If there is excess production, in this case, all the surplus power is transferred to utility supply. All this energy is recorded and later is adjusted in the final utility bill.

There are two types of metering in this process:

  • Gross Metering
  • Net Metering

Gross Metering

Gross Metering solar power technology

In Gross-metering,

  • the PV system is directly connected to the utility grid
  • The entire output is transferred to the grid
  • Utility companies then provide you with credit for the energy received according to predetermined rates
  • Most of the states in India have discontinued this system.

Example: You have rooftop PV system, with daily production of 10 units of electricity. All this output is transferred to the local power grid. Local grid fulfils all energy need. In the end, the energy company pays you for all the energy received from the PV solar power system.

Net Metering

Net Metering solar power technology

In simple words,

  • it is the net value of what you produce and what you consume
  • There is an agreement between the Solar power owner and Energy utility company, which allows the owner to:
    • Buy Deficit energy needs from the utility company
    • Sell any excess production to the utility company at the pre-decided price.
    • With this, the customer pays the difference amount and thus saves on energy bills. Understand this with an example, same as above.

Example: You have rooftop system with the maximum output of 10 units per day. Out of the ten units, you use eight units per day; balance two units are transferred to the utility grid. Now at the end of the month, Utility Company would bill you with the net consumption. They will deduct all the energy received from the system out of the total energy used. You will start receiving reduced energy bills as well as reduced consumption of electricity.

Benefits of Net Metering:

  1. An average energy consumer becomes Producer.
  2. Local utility grid acts as Battery; the user needs not to worry about the shortage or excess power generation.
  3. By selling excess energy, consumer achieves a considerable reduction in energy bills.
  4. Both solar power system and local utility grid act as the backup of one another. If solar power system is not able to produce electricity, then utility grid power substitute it and vice-versa in other cases

Difference between Net Metering and Gross Metering

PointsNet MeteringGross Metering
a)Excess energy produced by solar power systems is transferred to GridAll of the energy generated by PV system is moved to the Grid
b)Energy bills would see substantial reductionEnergy bills would remain same, and payment would be received for the transferred power
c)One can use energy produced by solar power systemOne only use energy provided by Utility Grid
d)Currently, it is the most popular system used around in INDIAMost the states and abandoned this system
e)Big boost in promoting green energy in IndiaWhen compared to Net metering it was less efficient
f)Govts. both at the state and the center are supporting Net meteringIt is less popular system among government

Meters Used in Net Metering:

In India, various states have their rules and methods for Meters to be used while recording all the energy inputs and output. Some states orders use of single meter which shows net consumption. These types of meters are usually digital meters and run in reverse direction on transferring of power from the solar power system to grid.

While in some states double meters are preferred. One to measure energy transferred from the solar power system and other to record energy consumed from the grid.

Importance and Significance Of Net Metering on Solar energy movement in India:

One of biggest aspect of Net Metering which attracted people towards solar energy is the drastic reduction in energy bills. This feature had a significant effect on upper class commercial and domestic users. By the help of this feature, they can step down the tariff plan rates.

Our government has the ambition to solve the shortage of electricity by bringing solar energy to every house by 2019. That is why government both at the center and state are giving a lot of emphases on Net Metering concept.

In Europe, many countries have successfully introduced this model of solar power systems for the benefit of their people.  Net Metering has great potential if used and implemented properly in a solar rich country like India. People in India can enjoy incredible returns and savings in energy consumption.

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