With the growing awareness and interest in sustainable practices, choosing renewable sources of energy is one excellent way to reduce your business’ carbon footprint. Among the renewable energy options available, solar energy is currently the popular option. If you are interested in solar energy, we would be happy to help you connect safely & securely to the grid.
First things first, remember to:
Purchase the right size.
When purchasing solar panels, consider the load or equipment that will be operating during the daytime or when sunlight is available. Make sure the size is matched with the power needs of your business. If too big, you end up spending more than you should. If too small, it will not be enough to serve your needs. Purchase the right size to keep your appliances and equipment running smoothly and safely to be able to maximize your investment.
Check the best location for your installation.
Before you make your investment, check the roof, inspect the structure and location where your panels will be installed. Consider factors such as panel direction, panel angles, and inverter options – all of which affect the output and the efficiency of the solar PV system.
- For Rooftop Solar PV (Photovoltaic) installations, you must ensure that your roof is structurally capable of supporting the weight of the panels. The galvanized iron sheet that is commonly used in the country is usually good enough to support the weight of solar PV installations. Nevertheless, it is good practice to consult this with the solar provider.
- To maximize the amount of energy that the solar panels will be able to generate, it is best if they will be installed facing south. This is the case since more sunlight is captured if they are facing this direction since the Philippines is located above the equator. It should also be noted that excessive shadings from trees and other obstructions will reduce the amount of power that can be generated by the solar panels.
Choose the right solar provider.
Choose a supplier who is reputable, with after-sales service, knowledgeable in safety standards, and has experience in interconnecting with Meralco.
Net Metering is a program under the Renewable Energy Act of 2008 (RA 9513), otherwise known as the “Act Promoting the Development, Utilization and Commercialization of Renewable Energy Resources” and is carried out by the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC).
It allows customers with Renewable Energy (RE) generating systems of 100 kW or less to export the electricity that they were not able to consume to the Distribution Utility (DU), such as Meralco, and its corresponding value will be given credits1 to the customer’s monthly bill and generate savings in the process.
Meanwhile, RE installations greater than 100kW up to 1 MW meant for consumption and export may fall under Distributed Energy Resources (DER).
RE installations that are solely for the customer’s own use fall under Zero Export (ZE) Program. Customers are still required to inform Meralco2 about their RE generating system by applying to the ZE program.
The ZE program was initiated by Meralco to allow customers with RE generating systems intended for own use to safely interconnect with its distribution system and ensure that the RE facility does not inadvertently leak energy back to the grid. With own use, the generated energy from the customer’s RE generating system is consumed instantaneously as it is being produced. Unlike the NM program, any excess electricity generated by the Customer’s RE generating system under the ZE program cannot be exported to the grid.
1 Department Circular No. DC2020-10-0022 of the Department of Energy (DOE) states that Customers under the net metering arrangement shall not be a net generator or producer at the end of each calendar year. Thus, any excess or balance net metering credits at the end of each calendar year shall be forfeited.
2 Also covered under Use of Energy by Customers in the General Terms and Conditions of the Agreement for the Sale of Electric Energy contract
How does Net Metering work?
When you enroll in Net Metering, Meralco will replace your current meter with a bi-directional meter for your business.
The bi-directional meter measures the inflow and outflow of electricity to and from your business. The inflow is the electricity that you get from Meralco, and the outflow is the excess electricity that your RE generating system supplies to the grid.
In compliance with the Amended Net Metering Rules, a Renewable Energy Certificate (REC)3 meter will be installed to measure the gross electricity generated from the RE system, on which the DU bases your generated renewable energy. The readings from the REC meter will be used as a basis for the computation of subsidies, discounts, and for compliance with the Renewable Portfolio Standards (RPS).
Under the NM program, you still import or buy electricity from Meralco during times of the day when your RE generating system cannot fully meet your power requirements. This is usually the case during night-time when the solar panels are unable to generate electricity. During daytime, though, when the solar facility can generate electricity that is more than what you need, you may export this excess energy to the grid.
3A detailed separate set of standards will be provided by Meralco in line with the amended rules and subsequent clarifications provided by the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC). (Annex A – 3 of Resolution No. 05, Series of 2020)
Pictured is a diagram to show how your solar energy is collected and metered.
Applying for Net Metering ensures that your solar installation is compatible with the power grid4, that it does not endanger yourself or others, and that it can be properly monitored to make sure you get the maximum value and savings from your investment. That's Meralco's 3S of Solar Energy.
Prevent electrical fires, electrocution hazards, and damage to property
Avoid dangerous fluctuations and power interruptions
Promote the use of energy that is more environmentally friendly, contributing to the preservation of our planet
What happens if your Renewable Energy (RE) installation is not registered with Meralco?
Installing and operating a Renewable Energy facility without registering with Meralco exposes you and other customers to several risks and safety hazards. Meralco shall not be responsible or liable for any damages and losses that may result from the unauthorized operation of your installation, in violation of relevant laws, rules and regulations.
Improperly installed solar panels can cause electrical fires and electrocution.
Some contractors who install your solar PV system don’t install a shut-off feature. When we need to make repairs along your street, power is completely shut-off along the affected lines. Without this very important safety feature, your solar installation could provide even a small amount of electricity to the power lines, which could harm (sometimes fatally) linemen and field personnel.
Incorrect solar installations can cause fluctuations in the quality of power across the circuit, affecting your neighbors. This means your community may experience power fluctuations or even brownouts because of a faulty installation.
Faulty installations may be easily damaged during powerful typhoons and heavy rain, leading to further safety hazards.
How does one apply for Net Metering?
Step 1: Filing of Application
Biz Customers can apply for Net Metering by submitting the accomplished application form, letter of intent, and requirements via email at email@example.com.
Customers eligible to apply for Net Metering must have good credit standing or have no unsettled or outstanding obligations with Meralco at the time of his application.
You may request this from Meralco via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or through your Biz Partner Manager.
DTI Registration, Secretary’s Certificate / Board Resolution; Securities Exchange Commission (“SEC”) Registration; Most recent Articles of Incorporation (“AOI”) and General Information Sheet (“GIS”)
For Authorized Representatives:
Plant Parameters Form (PPF)
You may get this from Meralco. You may accomplish the form with the help of your RE supplier/contractor.
Certification of RE facility equipment
You may request this from you RE supplier/contractor.
Certification of Final Electrical Inspection (CFEI)
Secure from your LGU (For Applicable customers – PEZA)
For submission in Step 4: Completion of requirements
Amended Net Metering Agreement (Amended NMA)
You may get this from Meralco. Please fill it out, sign it, and have notarized
For submission in Step 4: Completion of requirements
Fixed Asset Boundary Document (FABD)
You may get this from Meralco. Please fill it out and sign it.
For submission in Step 4: Completion of requirements
Certificate of Compliance (COC)
Form 1 - QE-COC Application Form No.1
Form 2 - QE-COC Application Form No.1.1 (Solar)
You may get ERC form from Meralco. Please fill it out and pay the fees.
Updated Electrical Plan, duly signed and sealed by the Professional Electrical Engineer (PEE)
You may secure this from the PEE.
COC Application Fee
Manager's Check or Cashier's Check payable to "Energy Regulatory Commission," or pay online via Link.BizPortal of the Land Bank of the Philippines once a Statement of Account is issued by ERC to the Customer thru MERALCO
|Difference in Meter Cost (DIMC) fee (if applicable)
To be collected from NM customers with existing service with Meralco. DIMC fee is the difference between their existing meter and the new bi-directional meter to be installed.5
DIMC fee will vary depending on the cost between the existing meter and the bi-directional meter to be installed.
5Pursuant to Annex A – 4 of ERC Resolution No. 5, Series of 2020
Step 2: Technical evaluation of your application
Meralco will evaluate your application and requirements through a field study called the Distribution Impact Study (DIS).6
The DIS is a study we conduct to find out the potential effect of your solar installation on our distribution system. If DIS results show an upgrade of the distribution facilities is needed, a Customer Renewable Energy Asset Study (CREAS7) will be conducted. CREAS fees will be determined depending on the asset study conducted to determine the engineering solution that would be needed to accommodate the RE installation.
After this, we’ll coordinate with your solar installer the proper interconnection of your solar PV installation to your load and to the Meralco system. Your solar installer shall then finalize the details of your solar PV interconnection.
6 Based on Section 17 (Conduct of Distribution Impact Study) of the Net Metering Amended Rules, no additional fees
7 Customer Renewable Energy Asset Study, also known as Distribution Asset Study (DAS)
|100 kW and below
|Technical Impact Study
|Technical Impact Study / Field Verification / Systems Parameter Measurements
Meralco simulates the proposed RE installation to the customers load and its impact to the grid.
This is to determine if the proposed RE installation will be safe to the customer and neighboring grid, or if additional facilities are needed.
The simulations are performed off-line and does not cause interruption to the customers use of electricity.
Note: As part of the technical evaluation, Meralco makes use of a hosting capacity table to determine the maximum allowable capacity for RE systems to be integrated without causing adverse effects on the normal system operation of the distribution network. Learn more about Meralco’s hosting capacity here.
Step 3: Inspection and approval of your service entrance
We will inspect your facility and service entrance to ensure compliance to Net Metering standards.
Step 4: Completion of requirements
Customer must submit the following energization requirements to Meralco in order to be issued their Bi-directional and REC Meters:
- Certificate of Final Electrical Inspection (CFEI)
- Net Metering Agreement (NMA)
- Fixed Asset Boundary Document (FABD)
Step 5: Energization and Commissioning
Once we have replaced your existing meter with a bi-directional meter, installed a REC meter and have successfully tested and commissioned your solar PV, you can now safely use and enjoy the benefits of your solar Net Metering installation.
Note: Once all of these steps have been accomplished, Meralco will then submit all documents related to your application including the Net Metering Agreement and Certificate of Compliance (COC) Application Fee to apply for COC with the ERC.
How long will I wait to realize the investment?
On average, a customer with reasonable use of his solar PV system will be able to get a return on his investment (ROI) after 5 years. This may be considered a good ROI given that the solar PV system is expected to have a useful life of up to 25 years, given that it is properly maintained.
What if I install solar panels without enrolling in the Net Metering program? I want to use all the electricity my panels generate and do not want to export to the grid?
Even if you do not export electricity to the grid, your connection may still pose risk to linemen performing maintenance, to your appliances, and neighboring houses or establishments connected to your circuit. This is why Meralco observes safety measures and strict procedures.
Does the Net Metering Program allow me to save on my electric bill?
The less power you import from the grid translates to "avoided retail cost" of energy. Customers should know their load profile (peak consumption) before installing a generating facility to ensure that their installation is right-sized and thus be able to maximize the benefits.
Where can I find the Net Metering Export Energy in my bill?
This computation can be seen on the right side of the bill’s front page. Shown below is a sample of how the customer’s Net Metering Credit (Net Metering Export Energy) is subtracted from his bill.
The previous month’s excess Net Metering credits are broken down into non-VAT and VAT components which are then paid to your bill’s non-VAT and VAT components.
Can I use a Battery Energy Storage System (BESS) for my RE installation?
Yes, customers may use BESS in order to continuously enjoy the benefits of having an RE installation provided that it complies with the following technical guidelines:
The RE facility should contain a transfer switch or any form of mechanism that isolates the loads served by the battery from the utility.
The transferring mechanism can be manual or automatic and can be located externally or internally to the inverter unit.
While the Hybrid inverter is in battery mode, the RE facility and the critical loads should be isolated from the distribution grid. Under no circumstances shall the battery be able to export power to the distribution grid.
A warning signage should be applied in a visible location of the battery, in uppercase with a minimum height of 6mm and shall read as follows:
To learn more, book a free Power consult today via email@example.com, business hotline 16210, or your Biz Partner Manager. You may also read more about how Net Metering has helped businesses like The Orchard Golf & Country Club and Biostar NutriProducts, Inc.