Introduction to Rebate Programs and Net Metering

52 Posts
Jun 28, 2007 03:34 pm
Introduction to Rebate Programs and Net Metering

After a number of conversations that I’ve had with home owners, installers and resellers regarding rebate programs and net metering laws I thought it would be a good idea to create a forum area for us to discuss our experiences with these programs. I am not an expert on this subject but I am very interested in learning more about people’s experiences in various locations.

One of the best places to start researching rebate programs, incentives and net metering regulations is the Dsire website ( This site has a great overview of the state and federal programs and regulations. The Dsire website “provides a fast and convenient method for accessing information about renewable energy and energy efficiency incentives and regulatory policies administered by federal and state agencies, utilities, and local organizations.” If you haven’t already checked it out I would recommend you start your investigation there and after you get the basics down come back and post questions.

If you’ve been though the process please share with others your experiences! A lot of states still don’t have great rebate programs or laws that require utility companies to buy back power (or even give you a credit for the power you produce). If you are from a state that does not have renewable energy incentives in place use this forum to discuss with others how you can work with your legislators to create programs that encourage RE in your state. If you’ve participated in a campaign to change your state’s laws what experiences can you share with others?

I’ve seeded this forum with a few topics. Feel free to comment on these subjects or start your own posts! I am certainly hoping to learn more about the state and federal rebate process and the different net metering regulations.

« Last Edit: Jun 28, 2007 03:37 pm by Nick Albright »
184 Posts
Jan 3, 2008 09:30 am
Re: Introduction to Rebate Programs and Net Metering

My utility company now has a program that allows electric customers to pay for electricity based on demand.  Generally speaking, rates go way down after 10:00pm, and are higher during the day.  To make the most of this plan, I'll run my dishwasher and laundry equipment late at night.  Furthermore, I'm planning to store power in batteries at night, and use that power during the day when electric rates are high.  I'll also use power from my PV system, of course, but it supplies only a fraction of my household needs. 

It's unfortunate that this plan doesn't help to reduce my carbon footprint, but I'm working on that as well.  With PV panels at about $5.00 per watt, it will be awhile before I can disconnect from the grid entirely.

I've recently purchased a three-stage battery charger, and a transfer switch.  I'm designing a circuit that will monitor battery voltage, and switch the inverter on and off depending on battery SOC.  I would like to hear from others who are doing similar things.

For details, check out my blog:

Information about the utility company plan:

163 Posts
Jan 3, 2008 11:48 am
Re: Introduction to Rebate Programs and Net Metering

I'm planning to store power in batteries at night, and use that power during the day when electric rates are high. 

I've always worked with a figure of 80% for battery efficiency, but this study from Sandia Labs seems to indicate that it is below 50% for a fully charged battery.

Figure that your inverter is only about 90 to 95 percent efficient, and each charge and discharge shortens the life of the battery, then electricity rates need to be at least three times more expensive during the day for you to break even.

If your utility allows for grid-tie, then that would be the best bet for making the best use of all the energy that you generate.

My utility does not allow for grid-tie as yet so I have a similar problem to yours. I have 3200W of solar power and many days I generate more power than I need when the sun is shining. The charge controller just shuts down the excess power from the arrays after the batteries are fully charged, and on some cloudy days my batteries fall far below a healthy state of charge since I have to transfer the loads manually between the grid and my solar output.
184 Posts
Jan 3, 2008 03:59 pm
Re: Introduction to Rebate Programs and Net Metering

I should have mentioned that I'll be paying as little as 2 cents per kwh, and I'll be billed as much as 15 cents per kwh. 

Having said that though, I realize that my biggest savings will come from conservation and energy-efficiency improvements.  If I can avoid using my central air conditioner during the day when rates are highest, I'll save the most. Storing and retrieving energy is an interesting experiment, but load-shifting is how I'll save the most money.   

3 Posts
May 11, 2008 11:09 pm
Re: Introduction to Rebate Programs and Net Metering

Arizona is finally getting some good net-metering. The 2 largest utilities SRP and APS now have full retail net-metering. The Sate Arizona Corporation Commission is adding a rule to require all regulated utilities to provide net-metering with full 1 year credit carryover.

   This is really big news. Next I hope to find a way for customers that take an incetive to keep their REC Renewable Energy Credits. I have mine since I added my system in 2001 before incentives or even net-metering. 
1 Posts
Sep 29, 2008 03:37 pm
Re: Introduction to Rebate Programs and Net Metering

I live in northwest Indiana and recently designed, permitted and installed a 3 kW PV solar panel system at my residence.  As I learn more, the plan is to expand the system to 5 - 6 kW generating capacity.

The system is grid-tied to the local utility and I have entered a Net Metering Agreement for the return of excess electricity to the grid.

I am seeking kindred souls to further the cause in this neck of the woods.

There is ground shaking alternate energy tax credit legislation currently being contemplated and the local utility has requested a 16% plus rate increase.

Any interest out there?



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