Solar panels can save your electricity costs and enable you to resell power to the grid, so now is a fantastic moment to invest in a solar system if you have been thinking about doing so. Solar panels not only reduce your monthly energy costs but also require little upkeep and have a lifespan of roughly 30 years.
You can have a smart meter and solar panels in your home, and enjoy the benefits of both because the second generation of smart meters are compatible with all solar panels.
If you’re unsure about the best option for you, we recommend contacting your local solar panel installer, who will tell you what’s best for your situation.
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What Are Smart Meters?
The first thing you need to know about smart meters is that they can be controlled remotely.
With the aid of this technology, a utility provider can keep track of each home’s real-time energy usage and take action.
Homeowners may pay less for energy as a result, while utility companies may eliminate outages more successfully.
Smart meters allow homeowners to monitor their electricity usage and even configure various gadgets.
Since the second-generation meters are entirely compatible with solar panels, you do not need a first-generation one, which had issues with the connection.
How Do Smart Meters Work?
Most smart meters can capture and communicate data about a home’s actual electricity use.
Radiofrequency (RF), cellular, or satellite transmissions are all options for them to use to accomplish this.
Local utility providers can even send out notifications when there is an unexpected surge or reduction in energy usage because they are managed remotely.
Local utility providers monitor each household’s energy use throughout the day.
Generations 1 and 2 of Smart Meters – What’s the Difference?
The First Generation Smart Meters (SMETS1)
The first generation of smart meters has been removed from service.
They lose their smart capabilities when they switch energy providers and might not work with solar panels.
Smart Meters of the Second Generation (SMETS2)
Similar to how a conventional meter measures your gas and electricity, smart meters do the same.
Smart meters, however, communicate the readings to your energy provider automatically rather than requiring a utility company person to visit to read your regular meter or for you to submit meter readings to your supplier.
The RF technology used to relay data back to utility providers shows the fundamental distinction between these.
First-generation smart meters transmit through RF (radio frequency), which can occasionally lead to dropped signals or interference from other appliances that might use the same frequencies as your meter.
The second generation of smart meters is the latest.
Mostly, smart meters of the second generation support cellular or satellite transmissions.
Energy providers can access the data sent from a smart meter thanks to a different communication protocol compared to the one used with the first generation of smart meters.
This makes it simple to change energy providers, as an additional home display will immediately update the prices.
Even though the signal quality is much better, they can be expensive for utility companies and may lead to higher energy usage at home because more power is required to carry data back and forth from the meter!
An In-Home Display (IHD) is a screen that is included with smart meters and shows your real-time current gas and electricity use, allowing you to keep track of your typical usage.
Your IHD will show you exactly how much energy you are consuming and how much it costs you if you are using any more grid power.
How much electricity you are producing with your solar panels and how much you can sell back are two things that your smart meter cannot tell you.
The good news is that some utilities permit solar-paneling homes with smart meters to have their system manually checked.
This might provide them with the extra information they require while enabling you to monitor their energy consumption.
Smart meters will soon be fully compatible with residential solar panels, allowing you to monitor exactly how much energy your solar panels are producing to power your home and how much energy you are selling back to the grid because energy providers are continually improving this technology.
Are Smart Meters Required?
Smart meters with solar panels are not required, but they are useful.
Depending on whether you can opt out of this service, your electric company may decide this.
If you choose to install a smart meter on your house, be sure that everything is set up correctly to avoid issues in the future.
What Are the Benefits of Solar Panels and Smart Meters?
The ability to lower your monthly electric bill is one of its greatest benefits.
This will enable you to use energy more effectively since most people use their appliances at specific times of the day.
Even better, you can monitor your usage remotely, which can help you ensure the appliances are running when they should and lead to greater financial savings.
Another benefit of installing solar panels on your house is that, in the event of an issue or malfunction, most systems can immediately notify homeowners via email notifications.
Also, the benefit is that, if you receive a message or alert showing that your energy consumption has increased, it may be possible for you to reduce unneeded electrical demand.
Solar panels can lower energy expenses since smart meters can make homeowners more energy-efficient.
What Are the Pros and Cons of Smart Meters?
- Your meter readings are automatically sent to the energy provider.
- Anytime, you can monitor your energy usage.
- With smart meters, you can track your energy usage through a home display that provides measurements in pounds.
- You gain access to low-cost rates that are only offered to homes with smart meters.
- There are no more projected bills because you simply pay for what you use.
- The energy needs of consumers are better understood by utilities thanks to smart meters.
- They significantly contribute to the development of a smart grid.
- Because smart meters need the mobile phone network to communicate, they are inoperable in places with poor cell service.
- Your energy use is not immediately visible. However, carefully tracking and managing your energy use can be beneficial.
- There are worries that smart meters could expose the infrastructure to hacks that lead to power disruptions.
- Smart meters have good cybersecurity, according to certain cybersecurity specialists.
- They convey in-depth data about your nearly real-time energy usage, making your actions known (daily routine, activity, etc.)
How To Get a Smart Meter?
Asking your energy company questions about their services is a good idea before asking for a smart meter installed in your home.
Your energy provider should permit you to update by 2024 if you currently have a first-generation smart meter (SMETS1).
What Does A Smart Meter Installation Cost?
Regardless of whether you have a smart meter, you are paying for it, so it’s a good idea to have a smart meter installed with your solar panels.
There are no up-front costs and the expense is in your energy statement as long as your usage stays consistent with your previous data.
How Are Smart Meters Installed?
When you book your installation, installers will ask a few questions to make sure there’s enough space for the engineer to work safely. The engineer will need about 2 feet (60cm) of free space around the smart meter, so make sure to provide that space.
Your smart meter installation shouldn’t affect your solar panels, generation meter, or FIT payments.
The expert will turn off your solar panels and electricity while they are being installed.
That allows them to remove and replace your old smart meter with a new one. The engineer will turn your solar panels back on after they finish the installation.
Your solar panel installation company looks after your solar panels and smart meter.
Contact your solar installer if you notice a problem with your smart meter or you believe your solar panels are still off.
Because energy companies are constantly advancing this technology, smart meters will soon be fully interoperable with residential solar panels, enabling you to track precisely how much energy your solar panels are producing to power your home and how much energy you are selling back to the grid.
The second generation of smart meters is compatible with all solar panels, so you may have both in your home and reap the benefits of both.
Because energy companies are constantly advancing this technology, smart meters will soon be fully interoperable with residential solar panels and allow you to track precisely how much energy your solar panels are producing to power your home and how much energy you are selling back to the grid.