Western Nebraska Observer - Observations all along the line - Kimball & the Southern Panhandle First

NMPP urges City to update net metering policy for consumer-owned alternate energy sources

 

October 12, 2017



As alternate sources of energy become more commonplace, the City of Kimball is considering an update to the net metering policy.

Net metering allows a consumer to “bank” energy produced by personal solar panels or wind turbines that goes unused at the time of production.

Rich Andrysik presented information about net metering at the Sept. 26 Board of Public Works meeting. Andrysik is an engineer employed by the Nebraska Municipal Power Pool (NMPP).

Customer-owned renewable energy generation may be net metered in Nebraska, but that energy must reach a minimum of 25 kW and can be generated from solar, wind, hydro or biomass sources, according to Andrysik.

In Nebraska, the renewable energy generated by the customer will serve the consumer’s needs first, reducing the draw on public energy, and the excess is sent to the utility. At the end of the month, the amount of energy sent to the utility is subtracted from the amount of provided energy and the result is billed either to the consumer or the utility.

According to Andrysik, NMPP urges all municipalities to be ready for the eventuality that a consumer wants to install solar panels. This includes having a policy in place and preparing the billing system for this possibility. The Municipal Energy Alliance of Nebraska is prepared to assist members with these updates.

Connecting a personal energy system to the grid requires that all generated energy must be converted from DC to AC to match distribution systems; the utility must be able to read output and a specialized, bi-directional meter is needed to record the flow of energy in and out of the system.

Additionally, an accessible, manual, locking disconnect is required between the generator and the grid for safety of personnel and the system, according to the information provided by Andrysik and also for safety, consumer-owned generators are required to disconnect automatically from the grid in the case of an outage or for maintenance.

The City of Kimball is currently working on updates needed to the local net metering policy and citizens are encouraged to contact the city, at 308-235-3639 or NMPP at 402-474-4759 with questions.

 

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