Net Metering Connections
Better than sliced bread for small sites where the site owner can use all the hydropower produced.

Net Metering Connections

A grid tied hydro powered electric generation system can be either net metered or connected as part of Feed in Tariff (FIT) program. With either of these connections types you are still connected to your local electricity distribution lines.
Grid Tied Net Metered systems involve connecting your system to the power grid but you use the power, and it offsets your electric bill. If you don’t produce as much electricity as you use then the grid just supplies the difference and you get billed for that difference, if you produce more than you use, the excess just goes to the grid.

Whether you get paid for that difference that you supply to the grid depends on the net metering rules in your jurisdiction. You may not get paid for that difference, but you may be able to carry forward that excess of electricity you produced over what you used for a period of time so that you can use it or “draw down” on it in periods of time when you are producing less electricity than you are using. For instance in Ontario currently, you don’t get paid for excess electricity that goes to the grid in a net metering arrangement, however you can carry forward the excess electricity generated for up to one year, after that it expires.

Here is how the Ontario Energy Board explains the Net Metering program.

Net Metering

Electricity consumers in Ontario who produce some of their own power from a renewable resource may take advantage of the “net metering” initiative. Net metering allows you to send excess electricity you generate from renewable resources to the distribution system for a credit toward your energy costs. In essence, it’s a “trade” of electricity you supply against electricity you consume.

How does it work? Once you’re connected to the distribution system your local distribution company will continue to read your meter just as they do now (though they may need to change the meter in order to be able to record the information they need) and then subtract the value of electricity you supply to the grid from the value of what you take from the grid. What you’ll see on your bill is the “net” difference between these two amounts. If you supply more power than what you take from the grid over the billing cycle, you’ll receive a credit toward future energy bills. The credit can be carried forward for up to 12 months.

Eligibility criteria include, but are not limited to:

  • You must generate electricity primarily for your own use;
  • The electricity must be generated solely from a renewable resource (wind, water, solar energy or biomass); and
  • The maximum capacity of the generation facility can’t be more than 500 kilowatts.

Further information may be obtained by contacting the Ministry of Energy.