Net Metering Service

What is net metering?

Net metering is the process of measuring the difference between electricity supplied by First Electric and the electricity generated by a grid-tie facility and fed back to the cooperative over the applicable billing period.

Where do I purchase the equipment?

Several companies provide turn-key net metering equipment and installation. Because the equipment is owned by the member, First Electric cannot recommend any particular brand or installer. However, First Electric does recommend the member contact marketing representative David Hannah at 800-489-7405, ext. 2127, prior to purchasing any grid-tie equipment to ensure the system is compatible with net metering. For solar systems, First Electric recommends using an installer licensed for skylights and solar systems by the Arkansas Contractors Licensing Board.

What must I do to get a net metering facility approved by First Electric?

Before First Electric approves a net metering facility, the following conditions must be met:

  • The net metering facility must use solar, wind, hydroelectric, geothermal, or biomass resources to generate electricity.
  • The net metering facility must have a generating capacity of no more than 25-kW for residential use or 300-kW for any other use.
  • The net metering facility must be interconnected to a metered service billed under any of First Electric’s metered rates. The First Electric account must be in the name of the owner of the net metering facility.
  • The net metering facility must be intended primarily to offset some or all of the net metering customer’s requirements for electricity.
  • Additional services on the same premises are eligible for net metering provided the combined size of all net metering facilities for residential use does not exceed 25-kW and the combined size of all net metering facilities for non-residential use does not exceed 300-kW.

What do I do if the property I purchase has an existing net metering facility?

In addition to applying for service through First Electric Cooperative, members who purchase a net metering facility must complete the Net Metering Facility Transfer of Agreement and Ownership Affirmation form (see Downloads below).

How is billing handled with a net metering facility?

Any excess kWh generated by the net metering facility will reverse the kWh on the electric meter. All First Electric meters are capable of running backward; no meter exchange is required for a service to be net metered. If the electricity generated by the net metering facility is fed back to the cooperative and exceeds the electricity supplied by the cooperative during the billing period, then the member will receive a kWh credit for the accumulated net excess kWh from month-to-month until the end of the calendar year. The member will not receive a special bill. The kWh credit will be maintained in First Electric’s billing system. The monthly availability charge and minimum bill still applies even if no electricity is purchased from First Electric.

At the request of the member, monthly excess kWh credits may be transferred to additional accounts in a rank order provided by the member. The additional accounts must be in the name of the member who owns the net metering facility. The member must provide the rank order of additional accounts at least 30 days prior to the first requested transfer, and the member only can make changes to the rank order one time in the calendar year. (See Net Metering Account Transfer Request form in Downloads below.) If the additional accounts are not in the same billing cycle as the net-metered account, those accounts will be moved to a common billing cycle. The additional accounts do not have to be the same class of service. Excess kWh credits will be applied to the additional accounts up to the amount needed to net zero the kWh usage on each account in the rank order provided. Credit kWh will not be divided proportionately across the additional accounts, and the additional accounts cannot carry forward credit kWh from month to month. If the member has multiple net metering facilities, each net meter facility must have its own rank order list of additional accounts. An account only can be assigned to one rank order list. Up to four months’ average usage on the net-metered account may be carried forward from one calendar year to the next calendar year. Excess kWh credits over the four months’ average usage will expire at the end of the calendar year, and the member will not receive payment from First Electric for the net excess kWh.

What are the net metering installation requirements?

The net metering system is required to meet all local and national electrical codes, including National Electrical Code, the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, the National Electrical Safety Code and Underwriters Laboratory. For solar systems, the inverter must be UL 1741/IEEE-1547 compliant. First Electric assumes no liability or responsibility for the installation or operation of the net metering system because the cooperative does not inspect the equipment, wiring or installation beyond the interconnection to the meter. Member must submit a design drawing and product literature for First Electric’s approval prior to the installation. Please contact marketing representative David Hannah at 800-489-7405, ext. 2127, for more information.

The member must complete and submit a copy of the standard interconnection agreement and ownership affirmation (see Downloads below) at least 30 days prior to the planned interconnection. The interconnection agreement will be signed at the time the system is commissioned by First Electric. Once the equipment is installed, the member must contact First Electric to schedule a site visit for First Electric personnel to commission the installation. The net metering equipment must remain disconnected from the electric meter until the system is commissioned by First Electric. First Electric will verify two things at the time of the site visit – that the net metering equipment disconnects from the electric meter during a power outage and that the electric meter runs backward when the net metering equipment is feeding back to the cooperative.

Why doesn’t First Electric pay for excess generation?

The purpose of net metering is to offset an individual service’s energy consumption. By issuing credits, the cooperative essentially is purchasing power at the retail rate not the wholesale rate. Excess power would need to be purchased through a feed-in tariff at a different rate. This type of metered service is not offered in Arkansas under existing net metering regulations.

Can I build a solar array or wind farm and sell power to First Electric?

A renewable energy power plant, regardless of size, can be connected to First Electric’s distribution system if certified as a qualifying facility by Arkansas Electric Cooperative Corporation. Power will be purchased by AECC through a wholesale power contract. Certification is a lengthy and costly process, and the member carefully should evaluate the economics of the facility before choosing this option over net metering.

Where can I find more information on net metering?

More information may be found in the net metering section of the “Member Installation Standards for Electric Service.” (See Downloads below.) Members with questions on net metering or the approval process may contact a marketing representative at 800-489-7405.

 

Downloads

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  Title Date Options
pdf Net Metering Facility Ownership Affirmation 02/27/2017 Download Direct Link to File
pdf Net Metering Account Transfer Request 02/27/2017 Download Direct Link to File
pdf Net Metering Facility Transfer of Agreement and Ownership Affirmation 02/27/2017 Download Direct Link to File
pdf Standard Interconnection Agreement 06/19/2014 Download Direct Link to File
pdf Member Installation Standards for Electric Service-Net Metering Section 11/13/2013 Download Direct Link to File

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