If your home produces more energy than it consumes, you can make money by doing pretty much nothing.
Many people focus on saving money by using less electricity. This is of course a great idea, but what about making money off of excess energy? As a matter of fact, it’s possible to have the electricity company send YOU the check every month, in some cases. You can make money by producing energy through solar panels, and then selling it back to your electricity company.
The first thing you’d have to do to sell your energy is find out if you can. Over 40 states allow you to engage in “net metering,” which allows households that produce renewable energy to sell their excess energy back onto the grid. For example, if you have solar panels and you happen to be out with all your lights off, your house will produce energy while not consuming any. At this time, your excess energy would get stored on the grid, granting you credits. When you’re actually using this energy in your home, your credits will of course be reduced. If you generate more credits than you consume, you can sell the credits back to the company.
Other reasons to sell your excess energy include tax benefits aimed at sustainable, efficient energy production. There are several tax credits you can get depending on your state, but you can certainly claim the federal solar tax credit.
Of course the manner in which this plays out varies by state and by electricity company. Not everyone is happy with consumers having the power to create and sell their own energy, and there have even been pushes to make this more difficult, as many electricity companies believe that YOU should pay THEM for the privilege of using the grid. It wouldn’t be at all shocking (pardon the pun) if regulations were to change in the future. In that case, if your home has the ability to create energy, you should take advantage of it while you can.