If you have or are installing residential solar panels, you may also want to also have a smart meter. These devices track the amount of energy that you use from the grid (i.e., non solar electricity), as well as excess solar power you have generated that you do not use, which is fed back into the system.
The meters are called “smart” because they give you credit from the utility company for the power you contribute to the grid – which they end up selling to other customers. Any electricity you have purchased will have a credit against the bill for the excess solar power generated by your solar panels.
In recent years, smart meters have become “smarter,” allowing homeowners to track periods during which they are drawing on the grid (which can be an incentive to adopt energy saving measures), as well as providing data on the times extra solar electricity is fed into the grid.
While there is no dial on smart meters, as on analog utility devices, people with solar panels can “turn their meters backward,” which is an exciting and rewarding experience.
Some people have erroneously believed that residential solar panels and smart meters are incompatible. But nothing can be further from the truth! The two work hand-in-hand helping homeowners save money and reduce carbon emissions. Other people have unwarranted concerns about EMF radiation or invasions of privacy from use of the meters.
We will prepare a follow-up post to explore the pros and cons of smart meters.