Effects of Net Metering on the Use of Small-Scale Wind Systems in the United States

Research output: NRELTechnical Report


Factors such as technological advancements, steadily decreasing costs, consumer demand, and state and federal policies are combining to make wind energy the world's fastest growing energy source. State and federal policies are facilitating the growth of the domestic, large-scale wind power market; however, small-scale wind projects (those with a capacity of less than 100 kilowatts [kW]) stillface challenges in many states. Net metering, also referred to as net billing, is one particular policy that states are implementing to encourage the use of small renewable energy systems. Net metering allows individual, grid-tied customers who generate electricity using a small renewable energy system to receive credit from their utility for any excess power they generate beyond what theyconsume. Under most state rules, residential, commercial, and industrial customers are eligible for net metering; however, some states restrict eligibility to particular customer classes. This paper illustrates how net metering programs in certain states vary considerably in terms of how customers are credited for excess power they generate; the type and size of eligible technologies and whetherthe utility; the state, or some other entity administers the program. This paper focuses on10 particular states where net metering policies are in place. It analyzes how the different versions of these programs affect the use of small-scale wind technologies and whether some versions are more favorable to this technology than others. The choice of citizens in some states to net meter withphotovoltaics is also examined.
Original languageAmerican English
Number of pages20
StatePublished - 2002

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/TP-500-32471


  • net metering
  • small-scale wind systems


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