Net Metering Frequently Asked Questions and Answers

Massachusetts Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs


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What is net metering?
Net metering allows customers of certain electric distribution companies (note: check whether your company is listed below) to generate their own electricity in order to offset their electricity usage. All customer classes are eligible for net metering. Common examples of net metering installations include solar panels on a home or a wind turbine at a school. These installations are connected to a meter, which will measure the net quantity of electricity that the customer uses (“retail meter”). The retail meter spins forward when the customer uses electricity from the distribution company, and it spins backward when the customer generates excess electricity (thereby “exporting” electricity to the electric grid). A special retail meter (also called the “net meter”) is required to allow for the “netting” of usage and generation, especially when there may be exporting of electricity.

Why would I want to get involved in net metering?
Net metering can lower a customer’s electricity bill by reducing the amount of electricity that the customer buys from the distribution company. Net metering allows customers to receive credits for any electricity that they generate but do not use. Some customers get involved in net metering because of an interest in the environment and renewable energy.

What types of generating facilities are eligible for net metering?
To qualify for net metering, you can install any type of generating facility as long as it is smaller than 60 kilowatts (“kW”). If the generating facility uses wind, solar, anaerobic digestion, or renewable energy at a farm, it may be up to 2 megawatts (“MW”) (or even larger for a public facility) and still qualify for net metering.

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