Net metering, defined by the U.S. Department of Energy as enabling consumers through their own generation of electricity (i.e. via solar panels) “to offset their consumption over a billing period by allowing their electric meters to turn backwards when they generate electricity in excess of the their demand,” is a practice domestically which varies by state. For those wanting to sell energy back to the grid in exchange for better rates from a utility, a new bill just introduced into the House of Representatives by a Washington State representative may help to set a federal standard which could be beneficial.
The Americans Making Power Act, introduced by Rep. Jay Inslee (WA-01), would make it easier for Americans to “feed back into the grid excess renewable power they generate through their homes, small businesses and even places of worship.” The AMP Act, as it is also called, would reportedly address what Inslee feels are two main issues: the actual net metering standard and a policy component designed to allow for the connection of a renewable energy system to the electric grid (known as interconnection). To address these issues, the bill would have to alter part of the Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act (PURPA) of 1978.
Currently 42 states individually have already adopted some form of net metering and/or interconnection standards. A national standard is felt necessary by Inslee and other supporters of the AMP Act at this point, as there are many variations in state policy and some states have yet to adopt net metering language at all. This bill is said to be developed in such a way as to set a national standard, but still be flexible enough to allow states to set their own standards, as long as they go above and beyond the outlined language.
“Our new clean energy economy can start right at home,” said Rep. Inslee, in a statement. “By empowering Americans, this legislation can help build the clean energy economy of the 21st century while saving families money. Imagine getting a credit on your bill from your utility company every month because you generated more power than you use.”