If you’re interested in joining the solar energy revolution, the Earth and your bank account are sure to thank you! After making the initial investment, you’ll start to reap the benefits and savings of your solar panel installation. However, it’s likely you’ll still receive electricity bills, and this is confusing to a lot of solar energy users. Shouldn’t your energy bills be eliminated by solar?
In this blog, we’ll dive into solar offset and how solar billing works, so that your bottom line knows what to expect after installation.
How Does Solar Offset Work?
Electricity usage offset is the percentage of a home’s electrical consumption provided by its solar panels. In other words, your solar offset is the amount of electricity that your system produced in a year divided by the total amount of electricity your home used that year. It’s typically expressed in a percentage.
There’s a misconception that everyone’s solar offset is 100 percent, but in reality, very few (if any people) have the roof space to achieve a 100 percent offset. More customers fall into the 50 to 75 percent range.
When installing a system, your design will be built using your home’s previous 12 months of usage as a benchmark. Your solar offset will ultimately be impacted by the following factors.
· Roof space
· Solar availability
· Electricity usage
Because all these factors can vary month to month, there are times of year that you may receive bills. For instance, in the winter, you may use more energy because it’s colder outside than it was the year before. If this is the case, then you would see your energy usage increase, and you’d get a bill for that month.
So, What’s the Point of Solar Panels?
Some customers hear that they could potentially get bills with solar panels and think, “What’s the point? If solar panels aren’t decreasing my bill to zero…what are they doing?”
Solar panels give you a range of options and help you save money when it matters. During high production months (like the summertime), most utility programs will allow you to bank the credits from this stronger production. With either battery storage or a net metering program, you can then use them during lower production months (i.e., wintertime).
Even if a homeowner offsets a low percentage of power, it’s a worthwhile investment. If the rate of electricity is cheaper using solar than the rate of utility power, then your goal should be to offset as much power as possible from your roof space.
On your bill, keep an eye out for “credits.” This is stored power from months of overproduction that can normally offset months where you pulled from the power grid. Additionally, by going solar, you can often eliminate charges like distribution because you’re not having to distribute power from the grid. Instead, you’re just distributing from your roof.
Keep in mind that, unless you’ve offset your usage 100 percent, you may still see a pesky metering fee. This is a flat fee that utility companies change ranging from $1 to $7 depending on your utility company.
Understanding your bill after switching to solar can be confusing at first, but we hope this guide has helped you feel more confident about what you’re getting charged and why. When you’re installing solar panels, make sure you ask your reputable installer what your prospective solar offset will be, so you can plan accordingly!