Electric cables illustrating net metering

How Does Net Metering Work in Ontario

Understanding the intricacies of net metering can significantly alter the way we think about renewable energy and its potential impact on our electricity costs. In this guide, we’ll delve into the net metering program in Ontario. In addition, we will discuss how it can transform the process of using renewable energy technologies like solar panels. Let’s get started.

Net metering is a billing mechanism allowing homeowners and businesses to generate electricity from a renewable energy source. It helps feed excess energy into their local hydro company’s distribution system. When your renewable energy system produces more energy than you consume, the excess goes to the grid. In Ontario, this energy output exceeds consumption for many during sunny summer days when solar panels are most productive.

Net Metering Program in Ontario

Electric lines

Ontario has actively promoted green energy technologies for years, particularly emphasizing solar panels. The Ontario net metering program is one of the key initiatives in this regard. When you participate in this program, you are still in connection to the grid, which means you’ll have power even when your system isn’t producing electricity.

Your existing hydro meter can keep track of the electricity you draw from or feed into the grid. You’ll be billed only for the “net” amount of electricity used. If you give more electricity to the grid than you take, you’ll earn excess energy credits that you can use to lower future energy bills.

Benefits of the Net Metering Agreement

The net metering program agreement, a fundamental part of Ontario’s renewable energy program, offers many benefits to residential and commercial property owners. It changes the landscape of energy consumption and presents several financial and environmental advantages.

Reduction in Electricity Bill

The net metering program’s most direct and tangible benefit is significant energy bill reduction. Through the net metering system, the electricity generated by your green energy system can offset the energy you consume from the grid. When your solar energy system generates more electricity than you use, this excess electricity goes into the grid. Furthermore, you receive a credit on your hydro bill. Essentially, you only get an invoice for the net amount of energy you use – the power you draw from the grid minus the one you feed into it. This process results in substantial savings over time.

Stabilization of Electricity Costs

One of the challenges with traditional electricity supply is the fluctuation in energy prices. However, you can gain protection against these fluctuations with a net metering program. You have greater control over energy costs by generating electricity through your solar energy system. Additionally, the excess electricity that your system produces can help as an energy ‘savings account.’ Again, it offers further protection against potential increases in energy costs.

Promotion of Renewable Energy Sources

The net metering program agreement is crucial in promoting renewable energy sources. It offers a substantial incentive for homeowners and businesses to invest in solar energy systems such as PV panels, wind turbines, or hydroelectric systems. By promoting renewable energy, the net metering program reduces reliance on fossil fuels and moves towards a more sustainable energy future.

Increased Energy Independence

The net metering program offers an increased level of energy independence. Although you remain connected to the grid for times when your system is not producing enough power, you are generally less reliant on your utility company for electricity. The energy that your renewable energy system generates can cover a significant portion, if not all, of your electricity needs. This increased independence can provide peace of mind and additional security during grid disruptions.

Contribution to Environmental Sustainability

Lastly, the net metering agreement contributes significantly to environmental sustainability. By generating your electricity from renewable sources, you directly reduce your carbon footprint and contribute to efforts to combat climate change. Every kilowatt-hour of electricity generated from renewable sources is a step towards a cleaner, greener future.

All in all, the benefits of the net metering program extend far beyond just savings on the hydro bill. It encourages the adoption of renewable energy systems. Moreover, it offers energy independence and contributes to the more significant global cause of environmental sustainability. Besides, this makes it an attractive proposition for anyone considering investing in a renewable energy system.

Eligibility for Net-Metering in Ontario

If you’re considering participating in net metering in Ontario, it’s crucial to understand the eligibility requirements set forth by the provincial government. Not all homes or businesses qualify automatically, and several factors determine eligibility.

Residential and Commercial Eligibility

In Ontario, both residential and commercial properties are eligible for net metering. It includes standalone homes, apartments, townhouses, commercial buildings, and even certain types of agricultural property. However, one must primarily use the property for dwelling or business purposes.

The applicant must be the property’s legal owner where the renewable energy system installation happens. Renters or leasers would need permission from their landlord or property owner before applying.

Access to a Suitable Renewable Energy Source

Since net metering involves generating electricity from renewable energy, the property must have access to an appropriate renewable energy source. In most cases, this would include having a rooftop or a piece of land that receives sufficient sunlight for solar power. The property must be in a location that consistently experiences the necessary wind speeds for other renewable energy systems like wind turbines.

Capacity Limits

There are also limits on the maximum capacity of the renewable energy system. The generating capacity should not exceed the customer’s average annual electricity load to a maximum of 500 kilowatts. This requirement ensures that the renewable energy system helps in self-consumption rather than large-scale electricity generation.

Approval and Installation

Before installing the renewable energy system, applicants must obtain approval from their local distribution company. They must also ensure that a licensed professional installs the system and meets all local and provincial safety and technical standards.

Finally, while the net-metering program in Ontario is relatively inclusive and accessible, potential participants must ensure they meet all eligibility requirements before investing in a renewable energy system. It’s advisable to seek professional advice or consultation to navigate these requirements successfully.

How to Apply for the Ontario Net Metering Program

a man applying for the net metering program

Getting involved in the Ontario net metering program is a straightforward process:

1. System Assessment: The first step is to assess your property to determine whether it suits a renewable energy system. Professional contractors can help ascertain the best position for PV panels to maximize output.

2. Application: Once your property assessment is complete, you can apply for the net metering program through your local hydro company. It will require completing an application form and agreeing to the terms and conditions of the program.

3. Installation: You can install your renewable energy system after approval. It is essential to use a certified electrician to ensure the installation is correct and safe.

4. Inspection and Connection: The Electrical Safety Authority (ESA) will need to inspect your system after installation. Upon approval, your hydro company will connect your system to the grid.


Ontario’s net metering program provides an excellent opportunity for homeowners and businesses to harness the power of renewable energy sources, reduce their electricity costs, and contribute to environmental sustainability. With a comprehensive understanding of the program and the right help from professional contractors, it’s a prospect that is both feasible and rewarding. So, why consider moving to green energy systems like PV panels and take advantage of the benefits of net metering?





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