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What happens to the power I don't use?

solar electric power meter

A solar system can be connected to the grid using a Gross Meter or Net Meter.

Today most of the solar power electric systems are installed under the Net Meter scheme. A Net metering system means your inverter sends the electricity your system generates to the meter box, and from the meterbox into your house.

If you consume electricity in your house at that point in time the solar system will supply it, therefore this electricity is "free".

If the amount of electricity generated by your solar power system is more than you consume at that point in time, the additional electricity is exported back to the grid to be used by other people.

 Your Net electricity meter then measures how much you exported. The payment you receive for this exported electricity is called the feed-in-tariff. Currently it tanges from 11c to 15c per kWh exported,, while you pay between 20c and 45c usually for  one kWh of electricity used. At night you import electricity and the Net meter measures how much you consumed and adds it to the electricity you consumed during the day from the grid.

The rate of feed-in-tariff you get paid varies from State to State and from energy company to energy company. We suggest you shop around. Your solar power system installer may be able to guide you as to which energy retailer offers the best feed-in-tariff rate. (LG Dealer Search)

Under Gross Meter scheme all the electricity generated by your solar system is exported back to the grid and you are paid for it usually by way of a credit on your electricity bill. The payment you receive for this exported electricity is called the feed-in tariff, and in the early days of solar were as high as 60c per kWh. .  The Gross Meter measures the entire output of the system separately to your electricity consumption. Gross metering support plans ceased to be offered in NSW by  2011 and expired in late 2016. but in other states will be still keep going as long as the mid 2020s. . Net There are no new entrants allowed into these historically very generous support schemes.