Net Metering

Members installing renewable electric generation projects at their homes and businesses can meet some or all of their own energy needs. They can further reduce their own energy costs and add energy to Flathead Electric's electric distribution system through net-metering.

Solar Panels

Net-metering is a special installation that allows any surplus energy generated by the member's system to go back on the utility electric system and allows the member to receive "credit" for the electricity put back on the system at retail rates. The member's meter measures the electricity the member uses from the utility system, less the electricity the member's system puts back.

In brief, a net metering system is one that:

• Uses as its fuel renewable resources; defined to be solar, wind, hydropower, biomass or another alternative generation system pre-approved by the utility.

• Has a generating capacity of less than 20 (twenty) kilowatts.

• Is located on the member-generator's premises.

• Operates in parallel with the FEC distribution system.

• Is intended primarily to offset part or all of the customer-generator's requirements for electricity at the specific site where the generation is installed.

Net metering allows homeowners to receive the full value for the electricity that their renewable energy system produces. The term, net metering, refers to the method of accounting for the electricity production of a renewable energy system. Net metering allows homeowners with such systems to use any excess electricity they produce to offset their electric bill. As the homeowner's system produces electricity, the kilowatts are first used for any electric appliances in the home. If more electricity is produced from the system than is needed by the homeowner, the extra kilowatts are fed into the utility grid.

Wind Power Generators

Under net metering, the member's meter measures the electricity the member uses from the utility system less the electricity the customer's system puts back. The excess electricity produced is fed into the utility grid and credit is given to the member at the retail rate.

At the end of the month, if the member has generated more electricity than they used, the utility credits (banks) the net kilowatt-hours produced at the retail power rate. If the member uses more electricity than they generate, they pay the difference.

Net metering allows homeowners who are not home when their systems are producing electricity to still receive the full value of that electricity without having to install a battery storage system. The power grid acts as the customer's battery backup, which saves the customer the added expense of purchasing and maintaining a battery system.

The following is Flathead Electric’s Net Metering Procedure, Agreement and Application for you to download.

Net Metering Form-under 10kW

Net Metering Form-10 to 20kW

Visit these websites for more information on renewable energy:

Montana Green Power

Montana DEQ - Renewable Energy

National Renewable Energy Lab

American Wind Energy Association

National Center for Appropriate Technology

Updated: Monday, December 28, 2015