Many homeowners have recently looked into the benefits of mounting solar panels on their rooftops as a result of the rising popularity of solar energy. Although solar panels have many advantages, a frequently asked question is do you still have an electric bill with solar panels. We are going to look into this issue and shed light on the elements that affect your electricity prices when using solar panels. Let’s investigate the specifics of solar energy and how it affects your monthly costs.
Do You Still Have an Electric Bill with Solar Panels?
Yes, you will still have an electricity bill with solar panels. In theory, it’s quite possible to eliminate your electricity bills If:
- Your household electricity demand in the day is less than what your solar panels produce.
- Your panels operate at their maximum efficiency.
- Any excess generation is sent back to the utility grid with net metering or stored in solar batteries.
- Your home uses less electricity on cloudy days and at night than you have in your batteries, or you have net metering credit that covers this use.
However, even with these perfect solar offset situations, you will still have an electricity bill after installing solar panels. The reason behind this bill is the mandatory utility fees. There isn’t any guarantee that you will achieve that ideal offset on every single billing cycle. This is why in almost all cases, it is practical to stay connected to the electric grid. This also means that you will still have to pay the required fees every month ( set by your utility provider).
Will I Have An Electric Bill With Solar Panels?
By lowering energy usage, enrolling in net metering, and investing in battery storage, you can pay a lesser energy bill with solar panels than without them. Now that you know do you still have an electric bill with solar panels, you must have also understood will I have an electric bill with solar panels.
Common Reasons: Why You’ll Still Have Electric Bill with Solar Panels?
Well, let’s get this straight: unless and until your house is totally off the grid, you’ll still receive an electricity bill every month. Moreover, going off-grid is an extremely rare and expensive scenario.
It’s quite a common misunderstanding that after installing solar panels on your home, you will no longer have an electricity bill. However, after going through the answer to do you still have an electric bill with solar panels and will I have an electric bill with solar panels, you know the scenario is quite otherwise; even after having solar panels, you will still have an electric bill. Here are the common reasons why you’ll still get a bill:
1. Cloudy Days and Nights
Well, the main reason is very simple: solar panels need the sun to generate electricity. It isn’t sunny every day and the sun also goes down every single night. So, unless you plan to use electricity on stormy days or at night, you will still need to use electricity from the utility grid to power your home. This is why any average homeowner will still get an electricity bill each month, even if their solar panels are producing electricity at maximum efficiency
You will have the best of both worlds if you have installed solar panels while still being connected to the grid. You will have solar energy when it’s available as well as additional energy whenever you need it.
Also Read: 100 Watt Solar Panel Output on Cloudy Day
2. Utility Service Charges
Even if your solar panels aren’t producing electricity, you’ll still need to use electricity in your homes. This is why most residential solar panel systems are connected to the utility grid, they are known as grid-tied systems. This means your home can get draw electricity from the grid when your solar panels don’t produce sufficient electricity.
If your house is connected to the utility grid, it’s a given that you’ll receive a bill from that utility. On top of the electricity prices, your bill will also include various utility service charges. Additionally, some of these services are charged regardless of how much electricity you use.
The actual fees as well as amounts depend on your local utility company. However, it can also include
- Distribution Charge: This is charged for building as well as maintaining the electricity distribution system. It includes overhead as well as underground power lines and transformer stations.
- Customer Service Charge: It covers the cost related to account maintenance, billing, meter reading, and other general utility operations.
- Transmission charge: It covers the cost of high voltage transmitters which are used to transmit electricity from the generating stations to your homes.
3. No Solar Battery Storage
When you have a solar energy system installed in your home, at times (especially during peak hours) the panels will generate more electricity than your home needs. You can save this excess energy production in solar battery storage and use it when the sun goes down.
However, even if you use battery storage, you should still typically stay connected to the grid. It can be quite expensive to have sufficient battery storage available to power your home for extended periods of time. It will be good for you to have some battery power ready for normal use, while still being connected to the grid as a backup. This will be a great help in case you need additional power.
In case, you don’t have a solar battery storage system, you won’t be able to use that extra energy at night. This means you’ll have to draw power from the utility grid and thus you’ll get charged for that usage.
4. Lack of Net Metering
Net Metering is a utility billing program. This program allows you to get credit for your excess solar generation. Whenever solar panels generate more electricity than your household needs, the excess energy is sent back to the utility grid. Your electricity provider or utility company then credits your account for that amount of electricity.
The value of this credit differs and depends on your utility company, your electric rate, and the net metering terms of your utility company. The idea here is that you can use these credits to counterbalance the cost of electricity you pull from the grid in the future.
You won’t be able to gain any credit for your extra electricity if your utility company doesn’t have a net metering program. Thus, when you draw power from the utility grid during stormy days and at night, you will have to pay for that usage, and the credits won’t cover this energy.
What is the Average Monthly Electric Bill with Solar Panels?
After learning do you still have an electric bill with solar panels, you now know that getting an electricity bill is quite common even after having solar panels? Thus, it’s a given that you might also want to learn how big the amount of the bill will be. Well, the amount in your monthly electric bill with solar panels will depend on the following factors-
1. Solar Offset
It is the measurement of the amount of electricity the solar panels produce vs the amount of electricity your house uses. Many solar companies make design their systems with a solar offset of 100%. This means that the amount your panels make and the amount you use are equal when measured over an extended period of time.
Usually, the percentage of energy you consume is inversely proportional to your monthly electric bill. The higher the consumption percentage the lower your bill will be.
Also See: What is Solar Gross Metering?
2. Utility Company Fees
Your utility company will send you a bill with electricity charges that cover customer service and delivery fees. Some of these charges will be flat monthly charges, while others take into account your total electricity usage. Before going solar, you must ask your utility company about the charges you’ll be billed for, even after installing solar.
3. Amount of Power Your Home Uses
The amount, as well as the types of appliances and devices in your home, will impact how much power you use. If your solar system isn’t producing enough power to run these devices, you’ll need to rely more on the utility grid. It affects the cost of the monthly electric bill you get.
Also Read: Net Billing Vs Net Metering
4. Seasonality and Local Weather Conditions
The amount of energy your solar system produces depends on your area’s weather conditions. It is also known as solar seasonality. For example, if you live in a location that gets a lot of cloudy days, your solar panel systems might not generate enough electricity to meet your typical household energy demands. This is why you are more likely to rely on the grid in comparison to someone residing in a place with a sunnier climate.
5. Solar System Not Working As It Should
Although this is a pretty rare occasion, your solar system might not generate electricity with maximum efficiency. To avoid this issue, you should-
- Check the solar monitoring app to see the amount of energy your solar system is producing. Compare this amount to the historical averages.
- Contact your solar panel company and ask it to troubleshoot your solar system. This will get everything to run properly again.
Additionally, your solar power consumption as well as usage habits might have changed over time. This can also be a reason why your solar system is unable to meet your increased energy needs.
Why is My Electric Bill So High When I Have Solar Panels?
After learning about the average monthly electric bill with panels, your next question must be why is my electric bill so high when I have solar panels? Well, sometimes, homeowners get a pretty high electric bill even when they have solar panels. Maybe the bills look too high or maybe you used more electricity than you expected. In this situation, it’s easy for you to get panicked. You might think that the system isn’t working properly or that the solar company made a mistake while installing your panels.
Fortunately, it’s a rare case where you get such a high electric bill. Here are some reasons a solar bill might look too high following the installation of a residential system-
1. Your Home is Using Too Much Power
Large appliances take up the most power in your home. If you are running a heat pump, a central air conditioner, or a clothes washer/dryer frequently, you might be using more energy than you regularly do.
This excess usage can be eating up your solar savings. Thus, making it difficult for you to draw the cost-saving benefits of your system.
2. Your System Isn’t Working Properly
This occurrence is quite rare, but still, occasionally a system doesn’t work properly. While the majority of residential solar arrays in and around states like California are installed correctly and running properly, mistakes do happen.
The straightforward way to prevent problems with your system is to have a solar installer show you the process of operating the system. This allows you to dodge any potential issues and helps you understand the process of reading your system’s output.
You can even enquire the installation team about the tell-tale signs that ensure your system is working correctly. Whenever you discover any problem with your system, you should instantly contact the team who installed it immediately.
3. You’re Reading the Meter Wrong
If you aren’t using too much power and your system is also properly installed, there is a possibility that you are using the meter wrong. This is a common problem and you shouldn’t be embarrassed about it.
If you find yourself in this situation, just communicate with your solar installer for desired assistance. Learn how to read your system properly from the installers. They’ll also help you learn about the ways to troubleshoot your solar panels. These three points should have solved your query and answered why is my electric bill so high when I have solar panels.
Also See: What is Bidirectional Meter?
How to Lower Your Electric Bill with Solar Panels?
Ultimately, the relationship between the size of your electricity bill and your solar panels will depend on how much electricity you generate and how much electricity you use. While it’s not quite possible to control the amount of electricity your solar panels generate, you can take the following measures to lower your electricity bill with solar panels-
1. Install Solar Battery Storage
You can invest in solar battery storage if your solar panels are generating more power than your household power demand. These batteries will capture the excess electricity and maximize the potential of your solar panels. They ensure that when there’s no sunlight, you can benefit from your excess generation. Solar batteries store excess power generation throughout the day, so you can use this electricity during cloudy days or at night instead of drawing power from the grid.
2. Reduce Your Energy Usage
Using less electricity will directly lower your electricity bill. These are a few effective ways through which you can conserve energy usage in your home-
- To ensure your heating and air conditioning systems are only On when you need them, use a programmable thermostat.
- Instead of incandescent lights, go for LEDs
- To improve your energy efficiency, assess your energy usage, and cut down on costs.
- When the appliances and devices aren’t in use, always turn them off.
3. Enroll in Net Metering
In exchange for credits on future electric bills, Net Metering allows you to send your excess power to the utility grid. You can apply these credits to the electricity you draw from the grid during bad weather or at night. After this, let’s learn about the difference in the electric bill before and after solar panels.
Also Read: How to Switch Off Inverter When Not in Use?
What is the Difference in Electric Bill Before and After Solar Panels?
If your electricity bills are usually around $40.33 per month, your power bills will go down to zero by installing a 5kW rooftop solar system. And if your monthly power bill is nearly $94.12 per month, then with the solar system installed, your bills will be reduced to just about $53.78 per month. However, a zero electricity bill with solar panels is only possible in theory and you must have understood why after going through the answer of-do you still have an electric bill with solar panels? But still, you’ll see a significant decrease in your energy bills after installing solar panels. This explains the difference in the electric bill before and after solar panels.
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