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Questions on Solar PV Self Install: Meter running backwards

  • 25-01-2022 2:20pm
    Registered Users Posts: 10

    I have finished off a solar PV self install. Its only a 2kW install so I don't plan on selling any of the power back to the grid. I will enable it on soon.

    I have one of the old meters. I have seen online where these have ran backwards when there is an excess being generated (see "Electricity meter running backwards due to energy produced by Solar PV panels in Wexford, Ireland" video on youtube).

    Keeping in mind that the meter runs backwards at the same rate that it goes forward, does this mean that in effect, you are selling the power back to the grid at the same rate that you are purchasing it at?

    Secondly, do I have to notify Eirgird that I have a PV install?

    Thirdly, if I dont, and the meter guy sees the PV stickers and PV safety switch that I have to place around the meter, could this cause a problem? If so, what?



  • Registered Users Posts: 12,005 ✭✭✭✭KCross

    Technically you have to tell them you have connected your system to the grid via their NC6 form.

    They may or may not then come out and swap out your meter. Once you send the NC6 to them you are covered.

    and yes, you are exporting and effectively getting paid day rate for it if the meter is going backwards. That won’t happen if they swap your meter.

  • Moderators, Home & Garden Moderators Posts: 5,519 Mod ✭✭✭✭graememk

    & its ESB Networks not Eirgrid, And your meant to have the NC6 form filled out when you put solar in.

  • Registered Users Posts: 10 toolshead

    Good information here, cheers.

    So I will need to befriend an electrician to:

    a) add their name to the NC6 form for sending to whatever the ESB are called now

    b) get them to inspect, test and sign off on the installation later on for my own piece of mind and insurance reasons.

    Anyone have any experience with getting an Electrician to give the install a once over? Will any certified electrician do, how much roughly would it cost, etc?

    Why would anyone with solar want to upgrade their old dial meter to the new smart meter, if, in effect, they get a better export rate with the older meters? Especially when the ESB charge you for the upgrade. There is no monitoring benefit either as the inverter will do that for you anyway.

  • Moderators, Education Moderators, Home & Garden Moderators Posts: 8,038 Mod ✭✭✭✭Jonathan

    ESBN will need to change the meter as it becomes a revenue protection issue. You effectively have net metering which is not offered here in Ireland.

    Good luck finding an electrician to certify. Legally, only a REC can add a new circuit to a consumer unit.

  • Registered Users Posts: 12,005 ✭✭✭✭KCross

    Why would anyone with solar want to upgrade their old dial meter to the new smart meter, if, in effect, they get a better export rate with the older meters?

    they wouldn’t! 😉

    Especially when the ESB charge you for the upgrade.

    the meter change is free.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 6,244 ✭✭✭SouthWesterly

    Have you photos of the set up?

  • Registered Users Posts: 10 toolshead

    I will make a thread with photos and a description once the final bits are done. I know Ive got decent information from this forum, so it will be good to try and give some back.

  • Registered Users Posts: 10 toolshead

    Sound. Since its only a 2kW install, I don't plan on selling any of the power back to the grid. From this thread and from reading here: it looks like I just need to fill out the nc6 form, put in electricians name, add the inverters certificate and send it off to ESBN. They will ring me a day or two later asking me if I want a free smart meter upgrade, where I can tell them that I am not. Its not compulsory, and I can pay for the install in future if needed. .

    Hopefully then, when the meter reader fella comes around, he wont have an issue with the AC cut-off switch and safety stickers for solar near the meter.

  • Registered Users Posts: 3,154 ✭✭✭irishchris

    I know a few here like to say good luck getting an electrician to sign off but its not a major issue. I rang a local reci electrician who came and out hooked it up to comsumer unit, had a chat about solar and only charged 50e as was simple connection of a 20amp breaker. A family member got a different electrician to do theirs and no issue other than was 100e to connect up. Looking forward to seeing your thread of the install. was it ground mounted timber/metal or roof? just cutting some trees back here to start ground mount to add another 7x380w array to my secondary inverter

  • Registered Users Posts: 12,005 ✭✭✭✭KCross

    I just need to fill out the nc6 form, put in electricians name, add the inverters certificate and send it off to ESBN. They will ring me a day or two later asking me if I want a free smart meter upgrade, where I can tell them that I am not. Its not compulsory,

    What might happen though is that they will force you to have a modern digital meter since you now have Solar and are feeding back. You have no specific right to spin your meter backwards. When you fill in the NC6 they will have your MPRN and know what type of meter you have. They may very well come out and swap the meter whether you like it or not. All you can do is cross your fingers that the bean counters in ESB dont action it.

    They cant force a smart meter on you, but thats a different topic.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 2,727 ✭✭✭yankinlk

    I think you are kinda making a big deal out of tbh not much. With only a 2Kw system - will it cover your actual usage? If your usage is realy small - then you arent paying much for electricity. If your usage is high - then you will be using a lot of grid at full whack when the meter isnt spinning backwards.

  • Registered Users Posts: 63 ✭✭Jayo2011

    I'm currently in process of having a 7kw system installed by a registered installer under the seai scheme. I have a rural meter which Flogas have managed to extort money from me over past couple of years. I've seen unit rate jump from 16c to 32c a unit in under 12 months.

    Am I to understand if I refuse a smart meter, at times when I am generating surplus electricity, my old meter will run backwards effectively meaning Flogas potentially owes me credit? Does the spinning backwards conundrum only happen with certain meters or all that arent smart meters? Tis a bit rich of the ESB to indirectly charge the customer for a smart meter whether they want it or not. Am I correct in thinking there are no benefits for a smart meter, other than saving energy companies the expense of reading your meter?

    A solar system should give the same live usage as a smart meter which appears to be their only consumer selling point

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,727 ✭✭✭yankinlk

    @Jayo2011 I did see that Flogas were incredibly high in charges - is a great resource for comparing rates!

    There are other threads on the FIT here - which is the method by which providers will eventually pay a rate back to consumers that export. Its not likely to be a great rate (im a pessimist here) but we are still waiting to find out how much it will be.

    They have said that a Smart Meter is required to get any FIT payback. The other advantage of a SMart Meter is the conveinence of NOT having to provide a monthly reading.

    One thing to note - many here have found that it is NOT a requirement to take a Smart Tariff (which are not as cheap as 24 hour or Night Rate tariffs). You can get a Smart Meter and still ask to be put on a "normal" tariff. We expect that everyone will be forced to take a Smart Meter eventually.

    Apparently it is only really old meters that spin backwards - I posted a photo of an older meter with a "cog" icon. This icon should indicate that the meter - while old and analogue - cannot actually spin backwards. My old meter used to stop when exporting - but not go backwards completely.

  • Registered Users Posts: 6,161 ✭✭✭Ubbquittious

    I have one that spins backwards. Only .6 of a kW installed so quite rare that it happens

  • Registered Users Posts: 63 ✭✭Jayo2011

    Likes of bonkers or switcher dont read the small print in contracts - a hard lesson I learned. Last year i used switcher to find me the cheapest tariff in the country - Flogas. By this time last year they had already given me 2 hikes. When I complained quoting consumer law - both parties must accept changes to contracts ie tariff changes, They were very fast to point out my tariff was based on a 30% off the standard contract, which in itself had variable rate hidden clause. If I wanted to leave, they were doing nothing illegal and I would have to pay an additional early release penalty. They were very cocky about this, hence I want to reverse the tables and start charging them for my connection. As one of them quoted to me - "if you weren't happy about the rates, you didnt have to use the electricity". They don't have to accept my surplus electricity if they are unhappy with the consequential impact on my bills.

    Regarding the benefits of smart meters - no need to be ringing in meter readings, I think providers will find that much of rural Ireland reside in 5g blackspots. There will be far more people being forced to ring in readings once smart meters get installed. Not sure if my meter is analog or not, if it is I'll be considering installing an analog meter when my solar gets installed. They only cost approx 20 quid secondhand.

    they will no doubt close all these loopholes by refusing to accept customers who dont have smart meters installed, but this will take a minimum of 2 years until the ESB has most of the country supplied with one. Electricity in this country is very corrupt, as is our energy regulator. He should be investigated for corruption. Meanwhile be nice to play them at their own game for a bit

  • Moderators, Home & Garden Moderators Posts: 5,519 Mod ✭✭✭✭graememk

    Yeah.. I don't think you can change your own meter back to analogue meter. Its the ESBN property, not yours.. also seals, actual meter serial number etc etc.

    Also smart meters don't need 5G, Its a minuscule about of data, could run on GPRS if that even exists now, but as long as your phone has a signal, it will work. (and they have sims (esims?) that aren't even tied to a network so they can pick up and use whatever network they want.

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,344 ✭✭✭bullit_dodger

    I can't remember, but yeah, I don't think they use 5G.

    2.5G more like.

  • Registered Users Posts: 6,161 ✭✭✭Ubbquittious

    There is a network called Sigfox thats used for a lot of this kind of stuff. Only uses a tiny bit of energy to send a tiny bit of data but subscription rates per unit are quite low. I made a solar charge controller that uses this to report how much its generating

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,344 ✭✭✭bullit_dodger

    It's a UK site, but I'd assume a similar situation here in Ireland

    Technical information on Smart Meters: Smart Metering - The full story


    SMETS 1

    Most of these communicate with your supplier through the 2G/2.5G mobile network

    As I recall the old 2.5G was indeed GPRS as graememk mentioned. Perhaps the new smart meters use Sigfox? Not sure, I don't know enough about it sadly. In any case, 5G coverage (or lack of) won't be an issue as smart meters don't use 5G.

  • Registered Users Posts: 3,154 ✭✭✭irishchris

    Uk are on the verge of turning 2g & 3g networks off and have asked for regulator approval. Running calls,data etc over 4g/5g makes sense from cost perspective for the networks but problem is all the smart meters rolled out in UK will now become redundant unless these plans get rolled back which seem unlikely. Can only see Ireland going the same direction in years to come and back to dumb smart meters that need replacing

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  • Registered Users Posts: 6,161 ✭✭✭Ubbquittious

    DOB will get a juicy contract to replace them all dont worry. The cost of which will be rolled into the PSO levy or standing charges

  • Registered Users Posts: 6,161 ✭✭✭Ubbquittious

    The Irish Government /RTE partially owns the sigfox network in Ireland. I wonder what their plans are for it

  • Registered Users Posts: 167 ✭✭thewiseowl12

    Sorry to resurrect this thread but on the same topic.

    My electricity meter is an old one and it is internal within the house, normally I send in the meter readings as I'm never here when the meter reader calls.

    I'm having solar panels installed, my current usage is quite low at 1500kwh last year (small house, all led bulbs, combi boiler and gas for cooking) and the expected generating ability of the panels is approx 2200kwh per year.

    Since my meter is old I expect that it will run backwards as a result.

    What are the implications of this in the sense that I do not have to switch to a smart meter I believe - I don't expect that the provider will pay me for the surplus (which is fair enough) but is there anything they can make me do? Like charge me for estimated bills? I'm presuming the lower readings will also be an issue.


  • Registered Users Posts: 5,307 ✭✭✭con747

    What most including myself do is add 1 unit to each bill when submitting it so it doesn't open the can of worms of a below last reading mess. Nobody has definitely answered the question on multiple forums I have asked on. You should get the estimated FIT based on the size of your inverter and prolong the replacing of your meter as long as you can. If you REFUSE a smart meter then they will not pay you the FIT.

    Don't expect anything from life, just be grateful to be alive.

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,344 ✭✭✭bullit_dodger

    It's worth mentioning that not all the "old" meters are meters which run backwards. Some of the newer (old) meters have a little rachet on the dial which physically stops it from turning in reverse. Couldn't find a picture of one on the web, but the symbol looks something like.....

    If that's on the face of the meter, then it won't run backwards.

  • Registered Users Posts: 167 ✭✭thewiseowl12

    Thanks for the insight - couldn't quite see the ratchet you mention but the meter is dated 1975? I'm presuming it means its sufficiently old!

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,374 ✭✭✭DC999

    Mine is 1967 and run backwards. Tis a thing of beauty :)

  • Registered Users Posts: 669 ✭✭✭webels

    You answered a question for me @bullit_dodger, its on mine.

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,344 ✭✭✭bullit_dodger

    Thanks for that. Saved that piccie as I just _could not_ find one on the web. is there a date on that out of curiousity?

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  • Registered Users Posts: 669 ✭✭✭webels