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Does The Meter Really Turn Backwards With Solar?

January 9th, 2009 · 21 Comments · Green Houston Topics

This is a question that I hear quite a bit.  Not just wondering if the meter turns backwards, but if Solar really works and is it a viable option for me?

Well, that depends.  On an existing homes, ALWAYS a homeowner should consider making their home as energy efficient as possible FIRST before they consider purchasing solar panels.  Why?  Because they can be rather costly, let’s first make sure that we getting the meter outside going a little bit slower so we maximize our investment of solar.

If you are wanting to know how to ‘green’ up your home and make it more Energy Efficient before you go solar, I recommend signing up for our FREE Webinars

Wen you are building a home, and it is going to be really Energy Efficient, you can really maximize the output from solar.

How much power does it take? How many panels?  Well, the wasted electricity is really when you are not at home.  Your home is still pulling power from various items such as computers, refrigerator, etc.  To turn the meter backwards, it does NOT mean you have to get your home ‘Off the Grid’.

So, here we have it.  If you need proof of the meter really turning backwards, here ya go!  Oh, and there is a little more information in there also.  :0)  It’s kind of cheesy and me goofing off a little bit with the meters, but I think it’s effective.


21 Comments so far ↓

  • Mona

    The video was very effective–I suppose there really is no better proof than watching that meter run backwards! Once again, you’ve done a great job informing and educating! As always, thank you for your time and contribution to our city and to the environment.

  • Cat

    Was this meter on a Houston home? Does Centerpoint or Reliant buy energy back or give credits or pay the home owner the way they do in Austin? I haven’t heard of this happening yet and I was wondering where this home was.

  • Ralph Parrott

    The current value of net metering in Texas allows for you to “store” your excess production on the utility grid during solar production hours. That excess is then used once the systems stops exporting energy to the grid. This means that if you buy energy at $0.15/KWh from the utility, your daily excess has the same value per KWh. However your retail energy provider is not obligated to pay you for production outside of your usage at the end of a billing cycle. The short answer is no.
    However, the new net metering process (which includes two meters – one for solar production and one for utility consumption) will enable you to make a contract with your energy provider for the excess solar energy production that is exported to the grid.
    Ralph Parrott
    Alternative Power Solutions

  • steph

    Hi Mona, Thanks for stopping by again. :) I just happened to be there at the right time and just had to get that on video. LOL

  • steph

    Hi Cat, Thanks for the great question! Ralph is with Alternative Power Solutions and a great one to hop in and answer most of that question.

    The house was actually located in Discovery at Spring Trails. It is on the North side of town on Riley Fuzzel.

    Houston is making great strides towards being a greener City, I’m certain we can do it.

  • steph

    Ralph, Thanks for hopping in to answer that. You’re awesome!

  • Pam


    Is there anyone in the Houston area who installs solar for pools? Is is terribly expensive? Does it look really bad?

    If so – is it only for the heater or can solar run the cleaning and filtering for a pool.


  • Home Solar Energy

    Kaching Kaching, good video. I`ve done a bit of the conservation side and managed to get the meters running slower. Mostly by using low power goods, solar hot water, insulation etc. Next step is to ramp up the electrical production and make the meter go backwards.
    .-= Home Solar Energy´s last blog ..First Solar|China 2 Gigawatt Solar Plant =-.

  • solar power for homes

    solar power for homes…

    This is a question that I hear quite a bit. Not just wondering if the meter turns backwards but if S […]…

  • Solar Panels

    I really liked your blog..will visit again soon.

  • Mike Fuller

    With all the global issues that we have to embrace into our lives and our childrens lives, we should all do our part to help a least a little bit. Why not eliminate your Electrical Bill and Save Thousands a year with Solar Panels for your home, this will be an easy way for you to do your part in helping our planet and save a tonne of money.

  • Theo @

    People should deffinatley look into how viable solar panels will be for thier home before taking the plunge, otherwise they could end up actually being out of pocket in the long run.
    .-= Theo @´s last blog ..Solar Panels FAQ =-.

  • MattCollins@buildyourownsolarpanel

    Great post I specialy found it useful for homemade solar energy. What’s the ROI on solar power? What’s solar panel do you use ?

  • chuck

    Are you saying its legal to plug into the grid on the house side of the meter to slow down the ‘avgerage’ monthly spin ? I spoke w the power company and understood they required me to have an aditional meter and sign a contract with a green company to buy back the watts, (at a greatly reduced rate). evan if I generate less than I consume…
    I look forward to your response.

  • adshouston

    nice job. i like your article, I strongly agree with your article, I need to learn a lot from you

  • chuck

    Is it ok/legal, to plug into a wall outlet and pump power back into your home without notifing the power company or signing a contract in Texas? Doesn’t this require an additional meter installed by the power company that only your own generated power plugs into ? Thanks

  • JPMatznick

    In reply to Chuck on power feed back to the grid. I know many people after the hurricane that have added an outlet for their homes to connect backup generators in case of emergencies. These where installed by electricians (in most cases) and to code with shut off switches to the grid. That is so the power does not feed back onto the dead lines while crews are working on them. For renewable energy system installations, you will always have to contact your energy provider in order for them to sign off on the install in order to feed back extra energy to the grid. You will not get your federal refunds or local incentives if you dont.
    For the do it yourselfer, there are small grid tie devices that are legal to plug into your wall outlet and feed back renewable energy or other self made energy for immediate use by your house or to make excess energy. These devices will only work when they sense grid power is up. If the grid goes down, they shut off and stop feeding energy back through your house outlets. The web site I had for them is down at the moment but there are videos about them.

  • affordable solar panels

    Cost effective solar energy !! … something we should ALL be striving toward!! agree?

  • Joe Trevino

    I really need to know who to talk to in Houston Texas about connecting to the grid. I want to put solar panels on my house but there are no instructions on paper or a good video that takes you through the steps from start to finish.
    Also, what about adding a small wind generator? Do we have permission to do this? Please do not send me to someone who has not actually done this. I would like to talk to someone that has been there done that.

    Great job on your video!

  • Solar panel installers uk

    Some panels are made with different numbers of cells and therefore have rated voltages which do not correspond to standard battery voltages.

  • kimi

    wondering about the new smart meters they are installing in and around houston. do these figure in the surplus also? or “go backward”? thanks!

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