Before net metering, the only way to store daytime-produced solar energy was to use a battery storage system. These systems — generally composed of a bank of lead-acid batteries, a charge controller, solar panels and an inverter — continue to be popular for off-grid use. However, net metering is more efficient (zero round-trip energy loss) and less expensive (no batteries or maintenance required), so the fastest growth over the last decade has been in grid-connected net metered systems.

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