In New York State, we have a policy called Net Metering that allows us to take advantage of solar energy. Traditional customers, or customers that have not gone solar have a meter that tracks how much energy that customer is using. When a customer goes solar, their meter is replaced with a net meter. The difference between a traditional meter and a net meter is that the net meter, in addition to tracking the amount of energy a customer consumes, is also able to track the amount of energy a customer is producing. If a customer generates more energy than they used, at the end of the month this will appear on their bill as a credit.
In Central New York we have a low solar resource in the winter, but a very high resource in the summer. Solar installers design the solar array to overproduce in the summer, allowing the customers to accumulate credits with National Grid. At night and in the winter, when customers are not generating solar energy, they are able to draw off of those credits.
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Remote Net Metering
In June, 2011, New York expanded net metering to allow for remote net metering for non-residential customers. Prior to this, you could take advantage of net metering only at the property where the solar array was located. If a customer had multiple properties, and they had a solar array at one of those properties that was producing excess electricity, they could not offset the electric bills of their other properties.
Once net metering was expanded in 2011, utilities were then required to allow farm and non-residential customers the ability to use the credits that they earned from their solar array on any of their electric bills. All of the accounts must be in the same name and from the same utility company.
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Community Distributed Generation (CDG)
In July, 2015, Community Distributed Generation (CDG) was enabled by the State of New York Public Service Commission. CDG extended the Remote Net Metering guidelines from 2011. By doing so, residential customers could now participate in remote net metering. Additionally, those that did participate did not need to be of the same account. This opens Remote Net Metering up to all customers, and is the basis of the 2016 SolarizeCNY Communities campaign.
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