The Value of Net Metering for Small Wind Turbines

Anthony Giombetti
February 28, 2012 — 1,353 views  
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Net Metering is an important program that certain states' legislation and statutes offer in order to help make small wind turbine systems more economically viable and attractive to land owners. For example, the State of Minnesota has set a strong example in support for progressive renewable-minded folks through the Minnesota Statute 216b Net Metering Law.

Net metering laws, or in many cases referred to as "distributed generation" or "co-generation," are a key function that certain states have set in place specifically to set the direction as well as provide support for functional, efficient and clean electric producing renewable energy systems. This legislation and program is vital to successful economics for renewable system buyers. At the same time, once in place, the utility company serving the renewable energy system receives the necessary carbon reduction credits as identified and mandated by the federal government.

What is Net Metering?
In layman's terms, Net Metering is a policy implemented by some states, followed by electric utilities, to ensure that any surplus electricity produced by an on-site generator, such as a small wind turbine system, can be sent back into the grid, and the utility to provide fair credit and or payment at an average retail rate.

For example, if a facilities' utility-connected, small wind turbine produces more electricity than utilized by the customer, the excess electricity is sent back into the distribution system (grid), captured and controlled by the utility, and to be used by someone else.

Net Metering allows such a customer to be compensated for surplus production at the end of the billing period, or monthly, depending on the choice the customer makes on the standard state contract. Since a meter is used to measure in- and out-flow, and per contract, the customer automatically receives compensation from the utility for excess electricity produced.

Success Story
For Peter and Diane Mittelsted of rural Dexter, Net Metering is a concept that appealed to them from the get-go in their search for a wind turbine on their farm.

After they did some research, which included contacting Renewable Energy SD, the upper Midwest's leading provider of wind turbine systems, the couple broke ground this past summer, and now the family's very own wind turbine is up and running. The new wind turbine should power the whole farm – and then some.

The Mittelsted's turbine is expected to produce about $15,000 to $17,000 per year in energy. Since the family's electrical bill has been averaging about $500 a month ($6,000 per year), those checks are projected to add up to approximately $10,000 per year.

In conversation with Mr. Peter Mittlested, he stated that part of the reason they put in their own wind power was that he was looking forward to his own retirement. Not only will their bills be reduced in their retirement years, but they'll have some extra income, too.



Anthony Giombetti

Contributed by Anthony Giombetti, an advocate of energy independence and Renewable Energy SD, the Upper Midwest's leading provider of wind turbines, who is committed to fostering a green economy.