Right, onsite energy generation is good for the environment and, in the long term, will make you save money. But is such an investment really viable from an economic point of view? Find out more in this article!
We have probably sparked your interest in energy self-generation… Still, you are probably thinking: “Ok, but is it really viable?”. Well, to answer this, you need to calculate whether the potential investment in an onsite energy installation pays off in a reasonable period of time. For instance, if you consider putting a PV array on your roof, and it costs € 10,000 and lasts 25 years : will you save more than € 10,000 on your electric bill over those 25 years? If the answer is yes, then put up the array!
But once the solar PV is on your roof, you’ll notice that you can’t use its full capacity, since you don’t spend that much time at home during the day, when electricity is being generated. That’s why you’d want to buy a storage device, to store the extra energy generated during the day. But, again, the price of this device is high. So instead, you could take advantage of a more affordable option called ‘net metering’, which can reduce your future energy bills.
What is net metering?
It is a billing mechanism that increases economic viability of an onsite energy generation installation, in particular solar PVs and wind turbines. Imagine you are using solar panels to produce electricity at home, but they generate more power than what your home needs during day light hours. A net metering scheme could allow you to send your extra power to the grid and receive energy credits in return, based on the net number of kilowatt-hours you gave to the grid. You then use that credit when needed (e.g., when you lack electricity from your solar system). In short, net metering ensures the energy you generate at home does not go to waste.
However, keep in mind that net metering policies vary significantly from one country to another, so be sure to make your research about what net metering schemes are available in your country. According to some data from 2018, the following European countries apply the net-metering scheme: Belgium, Cyprus, Denmark, Estonia, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovenia, and Spain.
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