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As renewable energy becomes more affordable, many homeowners are installing systems to generate their own electricity and lower their utility bills through a process called net metering. While some might want to install larger systems and sell the excess power to the utility for a profit, it’s usually not that simple.

Renewables graphic

Most utilities pay homeowners for the electricity they produce at the retail rate. But if a homeowner produces more than they can use, the rate they get paid often drops – reducing the incentive to install a larger system.

But in New York, that’s about to change. Jordan Gerow with the Pace Energy and Climate Center says utilities in the state will now be required to pay retail rates to everyone who participates in a community net metering project. That will allow community groups to pool resources and build large clean energy projects.

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Gerow: “So that does two things – first it allows you to build renewables at a much greater scale. And second it allows folks to participate in the renewable marketplace who might otherwise never be able to do it. Either because they live in apartments or they don’t have the right kind of roof for solar, or they just don’t have the means.”

Gerow says community net metering will be offered state-wide within a year.

Reporting credit: ChavoBart Digital Media.
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More Resources
Community net metering adopted in New York, Pace cited for key program features

Lisa Palmer is a freelance journalist and a fellow at the National Socio-Environmental Synthesis Center, SESYNC, in Annapolis, Md. Her writing covers the environment, energy, food security, agriculture,...