Want to run your electric meter backwards? LCEC says you can by ‘going green’
In compliance with the Florida Statute and to better serve customers adopting new green energy technologies, the LCEC Net Metering program development was recently finalized and is pending approval by the Florida Public Service Commission, said Kathleen Taylor, a spokesman with LCEC today.
Upon approval, the program will offer customers the option of a standard interconnection agreement for renewable energy generation systems at a home or business. All net-metered systems must meet applicable safety and performance standards established by the National Electric Code, the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, and Underwriters Laboratories, she said.
Renewable technologies eligible for the program include wind, biomass, geothermal, hydro and most common, photovoltaic (PV).
LCEC customers will have the option of utilizing their own renewable generator to reduce electric bills while maintaining the peace of mind that the reliable LCEC electric grid will be available when their renewable generator is not producing energy.
In those times when a customer is generating more electricity than they need at the time, net metering allows customers to bank excess energy by putting it back onto the LCEC electric grid; the meter will actually run backwards whenever excess energy is being generated, Taylor said.
Excess energy rolls forward each month and net metering customers receive credit for any leftover kWh at the end of the calendar year, based on LCEC’s purchase power cost for the prior year, she said.
Benefits of Net Metering
Offset electricity costs
Reduce dependence on fossil fuels
Excess energy rolls forward each month
Receive credit for excess energy left over at the end of the calendar year
Encourage use of renewable energy sources
Reduce health care costs associated with air pollution
About Interconnecting to the Electric Grid
Customers who install PV systems generate a portion of the power that they need for themselves. In fact, they can be generating power even during traditional power outages, Taylor said.
Any excess power beyond what the customer needs at the time flows back on to the power lines. The flow of power back onto power lines presents certain risks to electric company employees who may be performing maintenance on lines or restoring power after an outage. To help keep workers safe, LCEC requires all PV system customers to sign an interconnection agreement, which identifies safety standards that must be followed to connect to the grid.
In order to participate in the program, customers must submit an application and complete an interconnection agreement, Taylor said. Once the interconnection has been approved by an LCEC representative, customers generating more electricity than they consume will have their excess energy roll forward each month and receive credit for any excess at the end of the calendar year. For more information about an interconnection agreement, visit www.lcec.net or call 656-2240.
Renewable energy on the rise
Across the globe, people are seeking alternative methods of power generation, and advances in science and technology are making great strides in this arena. Greener, renewable sources of power help reduce our dependence on fossil fuels by utilizing other natural resources such as the wind and sun. One of the most popular renewable energy technologies is Photovoltaic power, or PV. PV generates energy by using the light from the sun as opposed to the heat, which is how solar thermal power works, Taylor said.,
So how does a PV system work?
Sunlight is made of photons, small particles of energy. When photons are absorbed by and pass through the material of a solar cell or photovoltaic panel, they agitate the electrons found in the material and are routed into a current. Wire conducts the electrons to batteries or an electric inverter to be used by appliances or other electrical items.