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Generate your own electricity

contractor installing solar panels on roof

Net metering program

Our net metering program is designed for those who generate electricity for their own use. It allows you to power your home or business with renewable energy in a self-sufficient way, but with the flexibility to rely on our grid if you need it.

As of June 2022, over 5,000 customers are participating in our net metering program, most of whom use a solar photovoltaic system.

How it works

When you generate more electricity than you need, you feed it back to our grid and get a generation credit towards your future electricity use. When you don't generate enough to meet your needs, you buy it from us.

Visual guide: How net metering works [PDF, 49 KB]

  1. Solar panels* convert energy from the sun into direct current (DC) electricity.
  2. Inverters convert the DC electricity into alternating current (AC) electricity, which is what your home or business and our distribution system use.
  3. The electricity your system generates powers your home or business first, and excess is sent to our distribution grid.
  4. Your smart meter measures how much of the electricity supplied by BC Hydro you’ve used, and how much excess you’ve sent to the grid.
  5. Your excess generation is credited to you on your next bill. If you still have generation credits on your anniversary date (March 1), we’ll pay you for the excess electricity at market price.

*Or another source of clean or renewable energy generation as identified in the Clean Energy Act.

Eligibility

The net metering program is open to residential and commercial customers. You can participate if your electricity generators meet the following eligibility criteria:

  • Owned or leased by you (the customer)
  • Connected to our distribution system
  • Uses a clean or renewable resource as defined by the Clean Energy Act (such as solar, wind, hydro, etc.)
  • Have an aggregate nameplate capacity of no more than 100 kW

Apply for net metering

Interested in taking part in our net metering program? Start by understanding how the full process works.

How to apply for net metering

Applicants in our Non-Integrated Areas

For projects located in our Non-Integrated Areas (NIAs), we strongly recommend waiting to purchase generating equipment until after the net metering application is reviewed and accepted by us.

NIA systems use a variety of resources to support their electricity load, such as diesel, existing or proposed independent power producer (IPP) renewable generation, and intermittent energy via net metering. That complexity requires us to perform a thorough technical review of each net metering application received for projects located in an NIA, so we can ensure that we’ll be able to continue to provide reliable and cost-effective electricity to you.

Resources

Program updates

Engagement & presentations

Details on our past and upcoming workshops.

July 5, 2022 - Informational webinar

BC Hydro hosted this webinar to provide an overview of the new online application form. Please view the webinar’s presentation [PDF, 1.5 MB].

 

November 15, 2021

BC Hydro hosted the technical workshop for Complex Net Metering projects. Please view the workshop presentation [PDF, 857 KB].

July 27, 2021

We've posted updated samples of drawings to assist solar contractors with Complex net metering applications.

June 22, 2021

Clean Power 2040 is BC Hydro's plan for how we'll ensure we can continue to deliver clean, reliable electricity for the next 20 years. As a net metering customer, there are elements in the draft plan that may interest you.

February 16, 2021

BC Hydro hosted the Net Metering informational webinar. Please view the webinar's presentation [PDF, 849 KB].

January 20, 2021

BC Hydro is hosting a Net Metering informational webinar on February 16, 2021 from 10:30 a.m. to noon.

 

October 30, 2020

BC Hydro submitted an evaluation report [PDF, 2.2 MB] to the B.C. Utilities Commission.

September 15, 2020

BC Hydro will be sending an evaluation report to the BC Utilities Commission by October 31, 2020. To help inform the report, we asked you to share your views in the survey. The survey closed on September 25, 2020.

August 19, 2020

The new Rate Schedule 1289 Net Metering Service [PDF, 976 KB] effective June 23, 2020 has been posted.

July 22, 2020

In a recent decision, the BCUC approved changes to the Net Metering program.

These changes will provide customers with increased opportunities to offset their load while ensuring the price paid for excess energy is aligned with the wholesale electricity market and reflects its value to BC Hydro.

The main changes approved by the BCUC:

  1. Lower the price paid for the annual surplus energy to a market price, updated each year;
  2. Provide a transitional energy price of 9.99 cents per kWh to existing customers until April 2024;
  3. Remove the interim requirement to limit a customer's generation size to the annual load; and
  4. Assign a March 1 anniversary date with one complimentary opportunity to choose an alternative date after.

How these changes impact customers:

  • If your net metering application was accepted before April 29, 2019, you'll continue to receive the transitional energy price of 9.99 per kWh until April 2024, then move to the market price.
  • If your net metering application was accepted on or after April 29, 2019, you'll receive the market price for surplus energy.
  • Customers applying to the program will not be required to limit the generation size to the annual load and can apply for a generating facility up to 100 kW.
  • All customers will have a March 1 anniversary date set to allow the best opportunity to offset their BC Hydro energy costs by applying their generation credits over fall and winter months. Customers have one opportunity to choose an alternative anniversary date after.

We'll be implementing these changes in the coming months.

June 25, 2020

On June 23, 2020 the B.C. Utilities Commission issued the Decision on BC Hydro's Application to Amend Net Metering Service under Rate Schedule 1289 [PDF, 3.1 MB] for changes to the Net Metering Program.

Frequently asked questions 

Billing

It can take about four weeks for your net metering data to show in your MyHydro consumption graphs. 

However, your first net metering bill will show your net metering data starting from the effective date that’s stated in your interconnection approval email. 

View sample net metering bills

The amount of electricity that you generate, as registered by your inverter's reader, won't match up to a data point on your BC Hydro bill. This is because the electricity you generate will first supply the electricity needs of your home or business. If you generate more than you need, excess generation will outflow to our grid and will be recorded on your bill as "outflow to the grid."

Your BC Hydro bill will also show the amount of additional electricity needed from us to supplement your home or business, which is labelled as "inflow from the grid."

If, over the course of one billing cycle, you generate more electricity than you consume, you’ll receive a generation credit in kWh that first applies to your current billing cycle. Any excess will then be carried over to your next bill. If you still have generation credits on your anniversary date (March 1), we’ll pay you for the excess electricity at the market price per kWh.

This payment comes in the form of a bill credit on your account. If you have multiple accounts with us and want to apply the bill credit to another one of your accounts, you can request a fund transfer by calling us at 1 800 224 9376.

Net metering bill credits cover Energy Charges only. You’ll still need to pay any other charges that are part of your bill, such as the Basic Charge.

The program’s anniversary date – or, the annual payout date – is March 1. The date was selected as it allows for “solar” credits to accumulate over the sunny months which you can then use to manage your electricity costs throughout the winter, when British Columbians typically use more electricity.

If you’d like to change your anniversary date, you can make a one-time request by emailing us at net.metering@bchydro.com to set a new anniversary date for your account moving forward.

For those who still have generation credits on the anniversary date (March 1), the market price for annual surplus electricity is calculated on January 1 every year. It’s based on the daily average wholesale electricity prices in Mid-Columbia for the previous calendar year, converted to Canadian dollars using the average annual exchange rate from the Bank of Canada for that year.

Since the market price has been in place for our net metering program, it has ranged from about three to six cents per kWh.

If your net metering application was accepted before April 29, 2019, you’ll continue to receive annual payouts at the transitional energy price until April 30, 2024 in adherence with the B.C. Utilities Commission’s decision. Then, it’ll be the market price.

Connections

Yes, even if it’s a small generation system, or one that won’t have any outflow to our grid, you need to apply and get approval prior to connecting your system to our grid.

This is a requirement from the Canadian Electrical Code, which stipulates that any customer who wants to connect a generating system to the electrical grid must meet their utility’s interconnection requirements and receive approval prior to connecting.

More importantly, it’s important for the safety of our electrical workers.

Planning

Qualified contractors can:

  • Design and install your clean or renewable energy system safely
  • Optimize your system size based on your electricity use profile
  • Assist with the application process
  • Provide estimated monthly savings and may be able to assist with calculating the payback of your project

You can find a qualified contractor through the Canadian Solar Industries Association member directory or the BC Sustainable Energy Directory.

The average household uses approximately 10,000 kWh of electricity per year. A typical solar installation on a residential roof is seven kilowatts (kW) in size with 16 solar panels, which in B.C., generates 7,700 kWh of electricity per year.

Every project is different, but your contractor can assist you to better understand the estimated payback period of your project.