This meter shows that the customer has delivered 15,170 kWh to the utility grid since it was installed.

How to Read a Solar Net Metering Bi-Directional Utility Meter

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When you get a grid-interactive solar electric system installed in Southwest Florida, FPL or LCEC will replace your standard meter with a bi-directional meter. This meter records electricity flow in both direction — to an from the electric grid — and the net amount of energy consumed since it was installed. This process is known as Net Metering, and it allows the utility to bill you for just the net amount of energy you consume.

There are a few different meter styles, but they all work essentially the same way. There is a LCD display that shows dots moving to the right when you are receiving electricity from the grid, and to the left when you are delivering electricity to the grid. The speed the dots move indicates the rate at which electricity is flowing. Here is how you can read the numerical parts of your meter display, which rotates between various readings:

This meter shows that the customer has delivered 15,170 kWh to the utility grid since it was installed.

This meter shows that the customer has received 15,170 kWh from the utility grid since it was installed. This is utility energy use in excess of the solar energy produced and consumed at the time of production.

DEL (of DL):  This is the kilowatt-hours of electricity delivered from the grid since the meter was installed. It indicates energy delivered to you in excess of solar energy production.

REC (or RC): This is the kilowatt-hours of electricity you sent to the grid since the meter was installed. It indicates energy produced by your solar energy system at times in excess of what was used in your home or business.

NET (or NT): This is the net amount of energy consumed from the grid. It represents the total delivered minus the total received since your meter was installed.

To determine your monthly usage, just like a standard meter, you need to look at these numbers relative to your last meter reading, which is shown on your bill. The numbers do not reset at each meter reading, but they tally up the cumulative electricity flows since the meter was installed.

There may be other numbers listed on the meter, which typically indicate demand, which is the maximum amount of power consumed consistently over a given time-frame, usually 15 or 30 minutes. Residential and small commercial customers do not have to worry about demand, as demand charge is not a component of the way they are billed. This is sometimes denoted as MAX (or MX).

In addition to reading your meter, your bill or bill insert (LCEC) will have valuable information about your cumulative net meter, delivered, and received readings. It will also tell you how much, if any, electricity you have banked for future use.

 

Comments

  1. The explanation says the del and rec are in Kw-hrs and show the total energy since the meter was installed. But the picture shows Kw, which has to be power (not energy) being currently consumed or delivered. Please correct.

    Does the Kw-hrs display show the net (delivered – received), total (delivered+received) or only delivered energy?.
    Is the Kw-hrs display programmable by PF&L to show net, total or delivered energy.

    The verbiage under the picture of the meter is confusing. I do not believe the meter can know how much the local solar panels have generated, so only net, total or delivered can be displayed. Please reword.

    1. Author

      The meter cycles through several displays. The one shown in the image shows kilowatt-hours delivered (the large numbers). The .859 kW figure is the instantaneous power draw.

      As the meter display cycles, it shows delivered, received, and net.

      You are correct that the utility cannot see total consumption, nor the solar power/energy generated. I changed the wording from “addition to” to “excess of” and now it should be more clear.

  2. On my meter it shows the peak kw but it resets once a month instead of 15 or 30 min.
    Is there some way they can change it at fpl

    1. Author

      First, peak KW has nothing to do with solar production. This is a measure of maximum usage (demand) during the billing period, and corresponds to how much you are billed for demand when you are on a demand tariff. It shows you the most power you have consumed consistently during any 30 (or 15) minute period. This is the necessary and intended operation of this measurement and it cannot be changed. I’m not sure why you would want it to be changed.

  3. On the demand (MAX) on an old meter it would show the kw used every 1/2 hr.
    On the new bi-directional it shows the amount every month.
    It doesn’t really matter but can fpl make it update on the half hr like the old one.

  4. For the first time since our net meter was installed, and I turned our system on November 14, 2014, we have made more energy than we have used in total. I was pretty excited to look at our net meter this evening and see the negative amount displayed; however, it was not negative. It cycled back to the largest number the meter can display. Please tell me that our electricity supplier is not going to charge us for 99,995 kW/hr’s?!?!

    1. Author

      That’s fantastic, Jeff, and congratulations! I think they will figure it out, but if you get a big bill (over $10,000) I’m sure you will be able to resolve it wit a phone call.

  5. I live in southern Florida. The days are mostly sunny with very few cloudy days. The REC on my solar meter has not exceeded 64 for 2 weeks (Feb.17 to March 3). Is there something wrong?

    1. Author

      It’s possible that something is wrong, but it is equally as likely that you are just consuming all of the solar energy you are producing at the time it is being produced. If your solar energy system is small relative to your energy needs, you might never send energy back to the grid because you are consuming all of it. This is particularly likely for pool homes or other homes that have steady and continuous power needs throughout the day.

  6. Got a net meter that was set at 3000kw at the start guy said this would be compensated.or all add up..i dont see how this should of been started there.

    1. Author

      I think you mean 3000kwh, but it doesn’t matter. They will record the starting figure and you will just pay based on the net change from the starting point.the meter doesn’t ”zero out” after each billing period. You are just billed based on the comparison of ending value minus starting value.

  7. A FPL inspector recently explained to me that my monthly bill will be based upon kw-hrs received (RC) and not on the net amount consumed (NT). He went on to advise that the amount delivered (DL) to the grid would be “sold” and credited at a discounted rate per calendar year. What you are describing here would amount to a reversible meter and, if I am correct, a bit misleading.

    1. Author

      @John, the inspector is wrong. You are billed based on the net amount consumed. If your net amount at the end of a calendar year is negative (you produce more than you consume), you receive a credit based on the COG-1 tariff, otherwise known as the avoided cost rate, or colloquially known as the wholesale rate. That only applies if you “over-produce” on an annual basis, and has nothing to do with monthly billing. Here is a copy of my most recent bill with annotations explaining how it works.

      FPL Netmetering Bill

      Or you can download in PDF format.

    2. Author

      Another quick note – a bi-directional meter is reversible. It “spins” in both directions. In one direction it records RC. In the other direction, it records DL. Then it calculates and displays the net amount (NT).

  8. It may work mechanically by being bi-directional but if am I correct on my billing question above?

    1. Author

      No, you are not correct. The inspector you spoke with doesn’t know what they are talking about. You are billed based on the Net figure on your meter. Upon reading the meter they take the current Net amount and subtract the prior Net amount to get your current period billed usage. See my prior comment with a copy of my bill for a further explanation.

      1. Author

        I should also note that another thing the inspector told you is not correct. The Delivered (DL) figure is the amount of energy the utility delivered to you, not the amount of excess solar energy you delivered to the utility. Received (RC) is the excess solar energy that was received by the utility from you.

  9. Thank you for the explanation. This is a new system for me and was a little concerned about what I was told when contracting the placement of the panels versus what was later told by the inspector. I got the (RC) and (DL) mixed up on my own. I look forward to studying my first bill.

    1. Author

      No problem. There is no shortage of shady contractors out there. But we have our fair share of issues with utility companies, too. You just got some bad information.

      Just today I had our local electric Co-op tell a mutual client that they don’t need $1M of liability insurance for a Tier 2 (over 10kW) Interconnection – that only the contractor does. That is absolutely false. The homeowner needs the liability insurance required to enter into an interconnection agreement. The contractor only needs to have the statutorily required insurance coverage (far lower), and that has nothing to do with the interconnection application or process.

      The utility companies’ customer service reps are notoriously undereducated about the process. If you have a reputable solar contractor, they are your best source of true and accurate information. We do this every day!

  10. My new bidirectional meter does not have a net reading (or perhaps I am misreading something). It has DEL and REC, MAX and the 88888 test screen. Is it simple to say my net is DEL – REC? or should i return to school 🙂

    1. Author

      You are correct. If there is no NET displayed the calculation is DEL-REC=NET.

  11. On my power panel it shows the 3 numbers rec net and del what does it mean when the net is going up is that good or bad ? My del and del are going up around the same amount but the rec is not doing anything

    1. Author

      If Net is going g up it simply means you are consuming more electricity that you are producing. If it goes down, you are sending excess electricity back to the grid. If Rec never goes up, you are always consuming all of the electricity you are producing, when you are producing it.

  12. Hello, this may sound like a silly question… but here goes.. I have a pool home.. is it better to run the pool off the solar panes during the day, or should I run it off the grid at night? Now I know the first response is… what’s the difference?
    My thinking is that the panels will have less of a load and send back more electricity to the grid, this giving me more to work with at night..
    sounds silly, but still questionable.. Thanks

    1. Author

      It makes absolutely no difference. The net amount of energy used will be the same. Most pool pros would prefer that you run your pump during daylight hours for sanitization reasons. Also, pump noise at night may be a concern.

  13. Does it matter if you use one of your appliances during the night( when you are not producing) as against the day when you are producing Energy from the sunlight. My question for you, would it consume the same amount of energy?
    Thanks

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