Net Metering Program (Generating <25 kW (kilowatts)

Net metering allows MEA members to generate a portion of their electricity from an approved site generating source. This can offset the member’s own personal energy usage and in some cases cover beyond the member’s personal usage. Any unused electricity generated by the member, can be sold back to MEA at a rate comparable to the avoided cost of MEA having to generate that same energy. A net metering member's generation source produces 25 kilowatts or less. Our Qualifying Facilities (QF-1) program is for generation sources that produce <100 kW.

Please note: the major difference between the Net Metering and QF-1 Programs is that there are no net calculations performed on the energy exchanges between the Member and MEA in the QF-1 Program. A participant of the QF-1 Program may receive a bill and a payment in the same month, whereas a participant of the Net Metering Program will receive either a bill or credit every month.

Net Metering Eligibility

The Net Metering Program is established through MEA tariff and governed by Alaska Admin Code 3 AAC 50.900 – 949. In general, private generation systems are eligible for net metering if they have a total size of 25 kilowatts (kW) or less, are owned or leased by an MEA member, are located on the MEA member’s property, and generate electricity from a renewable resource. For Alaska Statutes regarding net metering of electric energy throughout the state please click here.

Additional terms and requirements for participation in the MEA Net Metering Program are found in the MEA Net Metering Interconnection Agreement. MEA will use a bi-directional meter capable of measuring both energy consumed and the energy put onto the MEA system by the Member. Participants in the Net Metering Program will be billed or credited via the normal billing process:
· In each month where the Member consumes more energy than they generate the Member will be billed for the difference at the applicable rate.
·
In each month where the Member generates more energy than they consume the Member will receive a credit on their next bill for the difference at the non-firm rate identified in MEA tariff. The non-firm rate in MEA tariff is currently the Small Facility Power Purchase Rate (SFPPR)and is adjusted quarterly. The non-firm rate is subject to change.

Do Your Research

Understand the different generation options and which one is best for your location. Many members choose to conduct a small study of the wind or solar resources available to better determine the actual output of their system vs. system specs. To be eligible for net metering, a member must be generating from one of the following sources at their location (producing less than 25 kW): (A) solar photovoltaic and solar thermal energy;   (B) wind energy;   (C) biomass energy, including landfill gas or biogas produced from organic matter, wastewater, anaerobic digesters, or municipal solid waste;   (D) hydroelectric energy;   (E) geothermal energy;   (F) hydrokinetic energy;   (G) ocean thermal energy;   (H) other sources as approved by the commission that generally have similar environmental impact.  

Net Metering Application and Interconnection Agreement

The following forms will need to be downloaded and completed by our Net Metering members:
1. Net Metering Application (.pdf)
2. Net Metering Interconnection Agreement (.pdf)

Application and Interconnection Costs

There are no application fees and many small installations do not incur interconnection costs, however; where necessary, an applicant will be required to pay for associated expenses such as engineering design, hardware upgrades, and labor. An estimate of the interconnection costs will be provided to the applicant after the application has been received and prior to any contract being executed. The interconnection costs must be paid in full prior to a contract being executed and MEA beginning work.

Steps to become a Net Metering Member

1. Design your system

This is the responsibility of the member. MEA does not have the resources to design these systems for each interested member. Many members find hiring a contractor and/or installer extremely helpful and MEA technicians report this typically makes the process more efficient for us as well.  It’s most helpful to MEA when installers have worked with us in the past or uses our resource guide to understand our system requirements.


2. Fill out your MEA application

Before or during the construction of your project, head to any MEA office to pick up an application or download the application. Completed applications can significantly decrease processing time. Completed applications include:

  • All elements of the application filled out. If you have questions, please contact our Grid Modernization Manager at 907-761-9355.
  • Site plan – Including orientation to MEA’s existing electrical system, dwelling, other improvements, and property lines. We also prefer to see the nearest pole and pole number (listed on every MEA pole) to help identify where it is on our system.
  • Inverter certificate – Please ensure it is UL-1741 certified. Unsure how to receive certification?
  • Detailed 1- Line diagram – A common electrical diagram of the system.
  • Placard(s) – Installed on the meter base and the disconnect per NEC 690.14(c)(2). The member is required to install placard(s). Placard(s) must indicate co-generation exists on the site and the type of generation (solar, wind, hydro, etc.). In some instances, when the disconnect is difficult to locate, we recommend a third placard indicating the location of the disconnect (example: disconnect on southeast side of barn).

3. MEA processes your application

This can take 2-4 weeks depending on the current workload.  Processing time is faster if your application is complete, and the engineer has few follow up questions. The engineer will not look at the entire system design except for the components that link to our system. This is only a review of how your system connects to ours, not a verification of system design or performance.


4. Site inspection

The engineer will complete a final site inspection to ensure the actual construction matches the design and meets MEA’s system requirements. Application approval and final steps. Once your application is approved:

  • One copy goes to our Billing Department.  Depending on how the timing of the approval coincides with your current billing cycle, you should see your net metering data show up within your next two bills. For questions on how to read your net metering bill, call our Billing Department at 907-745-3231.
  • One copy goes to our Meter Relay Department. This will trigger a work order for installation of a two-way meter. This process generally takes less than one week. Once the meter has been installed, you are officially a net metering member!

5. Things to keep in mind post construction
  • Once construction is complete, the non-firm purchased power rate (sometimes referred to as the buyback rate) for members who are generating more electricity than their energy needs, will be adjusted on a quarterly basis in conjunction with MEA’s quarterly rate filings to the Regulatory Commission of Alaska. Additional information on how net metering works is available in interconnection guide.
  • Members should also notify MEA in the event they intend to alter or modify their system in any way. This helps ensure disconnects and breakers are sized correctly for additional generation and prevents damage to MEA and member equipment.

If you have any additional questions regarding our Net Metering Program, please contact our Grid Modernization Manager at 907-761-9355 or email josh.craft@mea.coop

If you have already submitted a Net Metering application and have questions about the status of your application, please contact Design Engineer Taylor Roth at taylor.roth@mea.coop or call 907-761-9571.

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