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With previous FIT programs introduced by the Ontario government no longer accepting new applications, the Net Metering Program has taken over. Available to any grid-connected customers that are looking to stay attached to the grid, but also generate their own power. Net Metering gives a good balance of self-autonomy and grid-tied convenience.
This program works by collecting your ‘unused’ renewably generated electricity and pushing it onto the utility line, in return for a credit to your account. These credits can be used when your own renewable systems are not producing, with the excess in these credits getting carried forward for up to 12 months to further offset your costs. Use your own power during daylight hours and take what you need from your credit during non-solar productive times!
Residential systems of up to 10kW are being installed on roofs and ground mounts all over Kingston and surrounding areas. Depending on your needs and the area available for panels, you may be able to reduce your bill to just the base delivery fee, which is usually around $40 (depending on location)! Grid storage is not only cheaper and more efficient than batteries; it can also hold much more credit than a standard Off-Grid battery bank.
Commercial systems of up to 250kW are also allowed under the Net Metering Program.
How do I apply to become a Net Metered customer?
First, in order to see if your household is eligible, you must call Hydro One* at 1-877-447-4412 and ask for your feeder station and feeder number attached to your address. Report this information to us at Quantum and we will run it through the capacity calculator to determine if there is connection capacity for your household.
Once we determine there is capacity, we will evaluate your Hydro Bill, do a site visit, quote, and schedule an installation with your approval! It is that easy.
*Some accounts with residents in parts of Kingston and surrounding areas are not attached to Hydro One and are instead part of Utilities Kingston, for example. In this case, there is no need to call for a feeder number and station as they have no capacity requirements! Let us know if this is your situation and we will carry on with the next steps to get you hooked up to Net Metering.
What should I expect for cost?
The approximate cost for a system is between $4.50-$3.50 per watt installed. For example, a 10kW system would be about $ 35,000 installed, and a 5kW system would be around $22,000. As the needs of every household are different, you may not need the biggest system available- installing just enough to fit your needs saves you money!
With the popularity of solar energy over the past ten years, we have seen significant cost reductions. An average household is now able to recapture their solar investment in less than 13 years. With the life of solar panels being about 25 years, the savings over the lifetime of the panels will be plentiful.
How do the credits work on my bill?
Once producing, your household or business needs for electricity will be met first. After powering everything in your home that is currently using power, the excess energy is pushed to the grid where it is held as a credit on your account. The credit system depends on your billing structure.
As of November 1, 2023, Net Metered Customers now have a choice for their billing!
Previously, new Net Metered Customers were required to switch their billing to Tieried Usage. With new mandates brought in by the Ontario Energy Board, all utilities are now required to offer customers a choice, which means more benefit to the account holder! One you are enrolled into the Net Metering Program, you can opt for Time of Use (TOU), Tiered or in some places, Ultra Low Overnight (ULO) rates.
For net metered customers on TOU/ULO pricing, the value of the electricity they convey to the distribution system (for the purpose of calculating any bill credit) is based on the time the electricity was conveyed; e.g., if a kilowatt-hour of electricity is conveyed during an on-peak period, it attracts the on-peak price.
It may vary from home to home which rate schedule will be best, but you have the option to switch from one to the other without penalty so there is no wrong choice.
The credits that are generated are held for a 12-month period then reset back to zero. For this reason, we like to ‘Goldilocks’ the system for your home, making sure that it is just right for your usage.
Both Tiered Pricing and TOU rates have gone up in the past ten years. With the recent exception of the COVID-19 drop in prices, they are on a steady up-hill climb at about 9% per year. With these changes and projected increases, it seems like there is no better time to start reducing your bills!
If you are considering getting into renewable energy, or have simply been curious about the process and programs available, Net Metering may be right for you.
Give us a call at 613- 546-2326 or send us a message to start working toward reducing your energy bill today!