Typically, you are compensated for your solar production by net metering. Net Metering allows solar energy generators to offset their energy consumption with their energy production. When your solar panels produce more electricity than you’re using on site, the excess electricity is sent out to the local grid. When this happens, your electric meter runs backwards, crediting you for this contribution. When you’re using more electricity than your system is generating, your electric meter runs forward, pulling the necessary extra electricity from the grid. At the end of the month, your final electric utility bill is your total usage minus the electricity that your solar panels produced. For more information, see our guide on net metering.
While net metering is the primary policy that enables solar producers to be compensated, some states’ policies vary. In some markets, solar homeowners are credited for exported electricity at a lower rate than what they pay to import that electricity. To check the policy in your state, see DSIRE’s solar incentive database or ask your installer.