Net Metering for Renewable Energy Systems

Net Metering for Renewable Energy Systems

Watch our video for an overview of how a photovoltaic system installed in Columbia and how it is set up for net metering.

What is net metering?

A net meter can measure electricity flowing to the utility from a customer’s renewable energy system on sunny days, when a customer is producing more energy than they are using. It can also reverse its direction to measure the amount of electricity used by the customer that is supplied by the utility. At the end of the month, the customer is billed for the difference or the ‘net’ amount of electricity used over the month’s time.

Who is eligible?

Columbia Water & Light electric customers that install a small scale renewable energy generator of 100 kilowatts or less that sign an interconnection agreement are eligible for net metering. The equipment must be certified by the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE) and the Underwriters Laboratory (UL). Installation must follow the National Electric Code, Article 690. Please see the Net Metering Agreement for more details.

What rate is paid for the energy sold to the utility?

SOLAR: Columbia Water & Light will pay the customer’s current electric rate for the delivered solar generated electricity when the utility retains the Renewable Energy Credits (REC). If the customer wants to keep the solar RECs, the customer will receive a credit based on the avoided average energy market price at the Columbia pricing node.  There is a 100 kilowatt capacity cap on the net metering arrangement.

OTHER: For non-solar renewable generated energy, the customer shall receive a credit based on the avoided average energy market price at the Columbia pricing node.

Net Metering Agreement must be in place for the customer to receive a credit for the energy they deliver to Columbia Water & Light. For billing periods in which the net energy is less than zero, credits for the amount of net energy will be applied to the account. Credits can be carried over and applied to the next billing cycle except for the March billing in which any credits remaining after the March billing will be removed without compensation to the customer.

Renewable Energy Credits

A renewable energy credit, certificate or attribute (REC) is a tradable certificate, credit or attribute that is certified by an entity approved by the Missouri Public Service Commission. Columbia Water & Light purchases these RECs from the customer when a Net Metering Agreement is signed by the customer. If a customer wants to maintain the solar RECs, the electric generating rate credit will be based on the avoided average energy market price at the Columbia pricing node instead of the customer’s electric rate.

How do I sign up for net metering?

Columbia Water & Light should be consulted before installing a renewable energy system that a customer wants to use for net metering. It is important to make sure that the system will meet the guidelines of the Net Metering and Interconnection Agreement. Columbia Water & Light can be contacted via e-mail ( or by calling 573-874-7325.

Is there an insurance requirement?

For customer-generating units of ten kilowatts or less, the customer is not required to carry additional liability insurance. For customer-generating systems greater than ten kilowatts, the customer must carry no less than $100,000.00 of liability insurance that provides for coverage of all risk of liability for personal injuries (including death) and damage to property arising out of or caused by the operation of the net metering unit.

Are there safety risks to utility workers?

Electric line crews must know where all generating sites are located on the city’s electric distribution system to safely do their work. Each qualified net metering system will meet all applicable safety, performance, synchronization, interconnection and reliability standards established by the Missouri Public Service Commission, the National Electrical Safety Code, National Electrical Code, the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, and Underwriters Laboratories for distributed generation. The customer’s electric generating system must contain a switch, circuit breaker, fuse or other easily accessible device or feature located in immediate proximity to the customer-generator’s metering equipment that would allow a utility worker the ability to manually and instantly disconnect the unit from the city’s electric distribution system.