Friday, July 16, 2010


The state of OHIO is one of the few states in the US that allows excellent “ net metering” options for it’s residents. Net metering is a process that allows anyone to produce their own electricity, there are a few criterion that need to be fulfilled first though, like the primary reason for producing the electricity must be for personal usage. Secondly only renewable energy sources should be used for producing the electricity for example; solar, wind, hydro, landfill gas etc.Your system must be installed along with the regular electricity supplier grid. Lastly the generation system, like the solar panels or wind mills etc., must be located on the property that you own.

Net metering basically is a billing system that allows the customers generating their own electricity to receive a credit from their utility company for the surplus electricity their solar systems produce. Net metering is a very favorable option for any customer, it allows the customer to produce electricity at a very low cost, the electricity that the customer would otherwise be buying from the utility company. Another benefit is that the surplus electricity is credited with the utility provider and is subsequently adjusted in the monthly bills, further lowering the cost of the consumed electricity. If the surplus electricity is not used by the customer than the electric utility supplier buys the surplus from the customer making it profitable to the consumer. Furthermore, the whole process is extremely environment friendly.

The working of net metering is very interesting, the solar system installed on your property is connected parallel to the electric utility provider’s grid. The solar system is set in a way that it is the primary provider of all the electric needs of your premises but in case of a shortfall the electric company takes over thus ensuring a constant uninterrupted power supply. Similarly, in case your solar system produces more electricity than you can use than the surplus electricity flows back into the utility meter installed by your local electricity provider, thus reversing the meter reading. This reverse in your meter reading results in ensuring a lower monthly bill. If the meter runs more backwards than forwards meaning that you produce so much electricity that you do not need to use any from your local supplier but instead supply them with extra too, than the current meter reading will be less than the last meter reading and will show up as a credit on your bill. The credit can be used in the future months when your system is not producing enough, like during snowy or rainy weather etc.

Further details depend on the utility company you use as many companies offer different kinds of credits thus before making any final decision talk to the Yellowlite‘s team of solar installers and to your utility suppliers. But generally speaking, Ohio is one of the two states that allows unlimited wattage power limit for each subscriber. The state of Ohio gives the annual compensation at the generation rate of the electricity produced by you. This means that the utility company will buy the surplus electricity at the rate that it costs you to make it. And the monthly roll over is accredited at the end of each billing year.

Overall net metering is a win win situation for everyone involved and it ensures that not a single unit of electricity produced by your solar system is wasted, whether you use it right away or not.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Power Purchase Agreement

Power Purchase Agreement sounds serious, but it really is a simple, legal contract between the company that generates power and consumer of the power. In general terms the power producer is also known as the “provider” and the buyer of energy is generally referred to as a“host”. Power Purchase Agreement is also known as PPA.

A solar PPA is a contract between a specific provider of solar energy and the consumer. Generally a solar system is purchased, installed and than the energy produced from it is used to light up businesses and homes, and all the cost is borne by the consumer. But in case of a PPA, the solar system is bought, installed and subsequently maintained by the provider, and the host (consumer) just pays for the energy used. It is similar to other utilities we use, we just pay for energy we use, not the equipment used for producing it. The only difference in the Solar system energy equipment is that it is installed on the property, usually a rooftop, of the host(consumer) but is owned and maintained by the provider.

Solar panels are made up of many small solar cells that produce energy when sunlight hits them. It is very important to keep these panels clean to ensure maximum production of solar energy. If the consumer buys or leases the solar system than the total responsibility of the maintenance falls on him. But in case of PPA, the owner of the system is the provider thus the host(consumer) just enjoys the benefits of the energy produced, while the responsibility of maintaining the solar system falls totally on the provider. Thus making it hassle free and viable for the host.

The usual term of a PPA is twenty years or more, that way it is more feasible, practical and effective. The longer the PPA, the cheaper the energy is for the host (consumer) in most cases. In most PPAs, generally, there is a provision that at the end of the agreement the host can renew it(PPA) or can buy the solar system installed on their property from the provider. Also, as it is a long standing agreement, it is more practical for people who own the properties on which they want to have the solar systems installed or if they plan to occupy the rented or leased building for a long stretch of time, to go into a PPA.

Similarly, the larger the installation the more beneficial the PPA. PPAs are more feasible in the commercial sector rather then in private sector. Apartment blocks, universities, factories and other businesses are a few apt examples. Property owners who want to provide cheap energy for their tenants are also good candidates for PPAs.
It is a known fact that everyone wants to “go Green” and everyone wants to go SOLAR but most can’t just afford it. But with PPAs this problem has been overcome, now to go solar the consumers just have to sign an agreement and pay the monthly bill for the solar energy they use, the rest will be taken care of by the provider. Now, because of PPAs anybody and everybody can go SOLAR.