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:
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 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.
November 2023 Update
FPL has started to roll out a new Aclara brand bidirectional meter that reads differently than their older meters. It provides a received and delivered figure, but does not show the net amount. You would need to do some math to calculate that. Here is a guide on how to read a Aclara Bi-directional meter.