Can You Sell Solar Energy Back to the Power Company? (Yes… but there’s a catch!)

By Chaudhry Awais Ahmed Jun 8, 2024
a-handsome-man-installing-solar-panels-on-a-roofYes, you can sell solar energy back to the power company but you get something else in return.

Did you know that the cost of electricity increases by 10.7% each year? And, of course, it’s a source of frustration for homeowners.

However, solar panels offer the potential for clean energy generation and reduced reliance on the grid.

But a lingering question hangs in the air: can you actually sell solar energy back to the power company and turn a profit?

Let’s explore the realities of selling solar energy back to the grid so you can make informed decisions about harnessing the sun’s power for your home.

What You Don’t Know About Selling Solar Energy Back to the Power Company

Imagine a world where your roof transforms into a personal power plant, generating clean electricity and minimizing your dependence on the traditional grid. Solar panels offer a captivating vision of energy independence and potentially lower electricity bills.

However, the concept of “selling” solar energy back to the power company might be a bit misleading.

Reality of Selling Solar Energy Back to the Power Company: Net Metering Explained

The truth behind selling solar energy back to the grid lies in a concept called net metering.

Here’s how it works.

  1. Excess Power Production: Solar panels often generate more electricity than your home consumes during peak sunlight hours.
  2. Feeding the Grid: This surplus energy flows back to the power grid through a bi-directional meter.
  3. Earning Credits: Your utility company credits your account for the amount of electricity you contribute to the grid.
  4. Offsetting Costs: These credits act as a currency, reducing your electricity bill when your solar panels aren’t producing enough power (like during cloudy days or at night).

Think of it as a two-way street: you use the grid when needed and sell solar energy back to the power company when your solar panels produce extra. And you get credits for that.

The Benefits of Net Metering — Beyond Just Selling Solar Energy Back to the Power Company

While the idea of directly selling solar energy might not be entirely accurate, net metering offers a range of significant benefits:

  • Reduced Electricity Bills: Net metering credits significantly lower your overall electricity costs, making solar a financially viable option.
  • Hedge Against Rising Costs: Electricity prices are prone to fluctuation. Net metering provides some protection against future price hikes.
  • Environmental Impact: By generating clean solar energy, you contribute to a greener future and reduce reliance on fossil fuels.
  • Increased Home Value: Homes equipped with solar panels often command a higher market value.

Addressing Your Common Concerns About Net Metering and Selling Solar Energy Back to the Power Company

Net metering sounds great, but it’s natural to have questions. Here are some commonly raised concerns addressed:

  • Do I Make Money Selling Solar Energy? Net metering doesn’t directly translate to cash payments. Credits offset your electricity bill, providing significant cost savings.
  • Is My Roof Suitable for Solar Panels? A professional solar installer can assess your roof’s size, orientation, and sun exposure to determine suitability.
  • What Happens When I Use More Than I Generate? You’ll still be connected to the grid and draw power as needed. Your net metering credits will help offset those costs.

How to Optimize Your Net Metering Experience to Get the Most Out of Selling Solar Energy Back to the Power Company


There are ways to maximize the benefits of net metering:

  • System Sizing: A properly sized solar system will generate close to your annual electricity consumption, minimizing excess energy sent to the grid at potentially lower credit rates.
  • Battery Storage: Adding a battery to your solar setup allows you to store excess energy for later use, maximizing self-consumption and reducing reliance on the grid.
  • Understanding Your Utility’s Policy: Net metering policies can vary by location. Research your utility company’s specific program details and any potential changes.

Beyond Net Metering: What are the Broader Benefits of Solar Power?

The advantages of solar extend far beyond net metering:

  • Energy Independence: Solar panels empower you to generate your own clean energy, reducing your reliance on the traditional grid.
  • Reduced Carbon Footprint: By using clean solar energy, you contribute to a cleaner environment and a more sustainable future.
  • Low Maintenance: Solar panels require minimal maintenance, making them a reliable long-term investment.

How to Make the Switch to Solar? A Step-by-Step Guide


Ready to embrace solar power and unlock the benefits of net metering? Here’s a roadmap to get you started:

1. Research & Education: Learn about solar power, net metering policies in your area, and available incentives.

      2. Get Quotes: Request quotes from multiple reputable solar installers to compare pricing and system options.

        3. Financing Options: Explore financing options such as solar loans or leases to make the switch more affordable.

          4. System Installation: Choose a qualified installer to design, install, and connect your solar system to the local gridline.

            Now that we’ve explored the world of net metering, here are some frequently asked questions to address any lingering doubts.

            FAQs: Selling Solar Energy Back to the Power Company

            1. Will I get a cheque each month for selling solar energy back to the grid?

            In most cases, net metering doesn’t translate to direct cash payments. Your utility company will credit your account for the excess energy you contribute, which reduces your monthly electricity bill. Some utilities may offer limited buy-back programs with cash payments, but these are less common.

            2. Do net metering credits expire?

            Net metering credit expiration policies vary by location and utility company. Many programs allow credits to roll over monthly and yearly, but they might eventually expire after a set period (e.g., 2-3 years). It’s crucial to understand your specific utility’s policy to maximize the value of your credits.

            3. What is the difference between net metering and net billing?

            Net metering and net billing are both programs that compensate homeowners for excess solar energy sent back to the grid.

            However, there’s a key difference.

            Net Metering: Credits are typically applied at the retail rate you pay for electricity, offering a one-to-one value for your contribution.

            Net Billing: Utilities purchase excess solar energy at a lower wholesale rate, resulting in less compensation compared to net metering.

            4. Is there a limit to the size of the solar system I can install for net metering?

            Some jurisdictions might have limitations on solar system size relative to your home’s energy consumption. This prevents homeowners from installing massive systems solely to generate excess credits and potentially strain the grid. Consult with your utility company or a solar installer to understand any size limitations in your area.

            5. Can I use net metering if I rent my home?

            Net metering benefits typically accrue to the homeowner who owns the solar system and the electric meter. However, some landlords might offer solar benefits to tenants through reduced rent or shared savings on electricity bills. Discuss the details with your landlord if you’re interested in solar power as a renter.

            The Bottomline — You Can Sell Solar Energy Back to the Power Company via Net Metering but You Get Credits for It

            Net metering isn’t about directly selling solar energy, but rather about offsetting your electricity costs through a smart energy exchange with the grid. Understanding how net metering works and the broader benefits of solar power can empower you to make informed decisions about powering your home with clean, sustainable energy.

            By taking advantage of net metering and solar technology, you can enjoy significant cost savings, reduce your reliance on the grid, and contribute to a cleaner and more sustainable future.

            Do you know someone who’s considering solar power? Share this guide with them! And stay tuned to Tech Trend Tomorrow.

            By Chaudhry Awais Ahmed

            A tech-savvy who loves writing and staying ahead of the future tech trends, Chaudhry Awais Ahmed is the CEO & Chief Editor at Tech Trend Tomorrow. While he has made a career in the content industry, you will find him busy trying new recipes in the kitchen and creating self-awareness on MEDIUM.

            Related Post