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Net Metering: Definition, Design and Considerations for Implementation

21 March 2018

The Clean Energy Solutions Center, in partnership with the African Association for Rural Electrification (Club-ER), hosted this webinar on incentives for regulation of self-consumption via net metering programs.

In recent decades and years, the prices of solar photovoltaics (PV) and batteries have decreased sharply, which has in turn increased the incentive for self-consumption (e.g., traditional electricity consumers producing parts of their electricity consumption themselves and thus becoming “prosumers”). As of the end of 2016, 55 jurisdictions worldwide had adopted net metering as a billing mechanism and support instrument. It allows prosumers using solar or other forms of renewable energy to bank excess electricity on the grid (to use the electricity grid as a temporary storage unit), usually in the form of kilowatt-hour credits. These credits are used to offset electricity consumed by the customer at a different point in time during the same billing period. The name of the instrument—net metering—refers to the meter measuring the electricity consumption. In the past, net metering was accomplished using a single, conventional, bi-directional meter. In other words, net metering enables the customer to now “run the meter backwards” by exporting power back to the grid.

The webinar discussed the following issues:

  • Definition of net metering (and net billing)
  • Diffusion of net metering policies worldwide
  • Design features of net metering
  • The combination of net metering with other support policies.

Presentations in the webinar were followed by an interactive question-and-answer session with the audience.