If you’ve had residential solar panels installed, turned them on, and started using them to power your home, congratulations! However, when you receive an electric bill in the mail, you may pause and think to yourself, “Didn’t I expect to eliminate my electric bill with solar panels?
Solar panels can lower or even eliminate your electricity expenses, but you will still receive an electric bill even if you have solar panels, even if the amount due is zero. Here’s why:
- When you have a grid-tied solar system, your solar panels are connected to the electric grid. This connection enables you to obtain electricity from the grid when your solar panels aren’t generating enough energy to power your home. It also allows you to send any extra energy that your solar panels produce back to the grid, resulting in a credit known as net metering.
- For net metering to work, your utility company must keep track of the energy going in and out of your home. A meter will be installed at your house to accomplish this, and your utility company will read it at regular intervals. Then, they’ll send you a bill every month that documents the amount of electricity you obtained from the grid and the amount your solar panels sent back to it.
- After installing solar, you need to comprehend the different components of your solar system to read your electricity bill. Your meter readings, solar credits, and other elements contribute to the size of your bill. In addition to its cost-saving advantages, solar increases the value of your property and promotes environmental sustainability. Some Australian companies provide feed-in tariffs when you export extra solar-generated electricity back to the grid.
- This article explains how to interpret your electricity bill after installing solar in your home. Keep reading to discover how solar installation can impact the size of your electricity bill.
Comprehending Your Electric Bill
Your solar bill comprises various elements such as your personal account information, measurement of energy usage, credit for solar energy, overall fees and discounts, and other relevant details. Understanding these components is crucial while settling your power bills. Let’s explore the details of your solar bill:
1. Details of Account
The top right corner of your electricity bill displays your account information, which comprises your account number, billing period (the period covered by the bill), and invoice date. These details are crucial as they serve as your identification while communicating with your electricity providers. You will also require this information while creating your account or availing online services.
2. Unpaid Balance
When it comes to your electricity bills, the primary concern is usually the amount you need to pay. You can easily check this by reviewing your account summary, which displays the total outstanding balance on your account along with the new charges for the current billing period.
3. Power Usage
Checking your energy consumption is another crucial aspect of reviewing your electricity bill. You can find this information halfway down your bill, where a quick comparison is drawn between your present energy usage and your previous bill. Sometimes, this summary may also include your energy consumption data from the previous year, if available.
If you require more detailed insight into your energy consumption, you can refer to the “My Account” page, where additional data is available.
4. Choices for Payment
Your electricity bill will provide details about the various payment methods available for settling your dues. You can locate this list at the bottom of your bill. The available payment options include Direct Debit, Centrepay, Credit/Debit Card, BPAY, Mail, or paying in-person at your local post office.
To make an online payment, you will require a payment number. Hence, it is crucial to take note of your payment number before proceeding to make the payment.
5. Measurement of Usage
The back of your electricity bill displays your meter reading information, including your next scheduled reading, supply address, and meter number. This section also provides other relevant energy supply details that you may require.
6. Credit for Solar Energy
If you have generated excess electricity and earned solar credits, your electricity bill will reflect the same. Your usage summary will provide details regarding the number of units consumed (measured in kWh) during the billing period and how your total usage costs are calculated. For instance, if you pay different rates at different times of the day, this information can help you understand the number of units consumed during peak and off-peak periods.
Additionally, the usage summary section also displays the number of units exported back to the grid and the corresponding solar credits earned during the billing period.
Electricity Bill Sample with Solar Power
Electricity bills may appear different after installing solar panels, and it may take some time to understand the changes. Let’s take a closer look at an example of an average electric bill with solar panels.
The example electric bill from Boston Solar, displayed above, demonstrates how solar panels can significantly reduce or even eliminate a customer’s monthly electricity costs. The most noteworthy aspect of the bill is the statement “No Payment Due” at the top, indicating that the customer owes nothing to their utility company due to their solar panels. The “Balance Forward” section displays a negative value of -$207.77, indicating that the customer had previously accrued net metering credits from excess energy produced by their solar panels.
The “Total Current Charges” section lists the amount of grid-generated electricity used during the billing period, which the customer was able to pay for using their previously accrued net metering credits, resulting in a remaining negative balance of -$128.45. The billing period covers dark winter months, during which the customer needed to use some grid-generated electricity. However, the excess energy produced during the spring and summer months allowed them to accumulate sufficient credits to offset their winter usage.
Customers who want to further reduce their dependence on the grid during winter months can consider incorporating solar battery storage with their system, which allows them to store excess energy for use when the sun is not shining, leading to further savings
Displayed in the image above is the second page of an electricity bill, providing additional details. The utility company has calculated the new Total Amount Due, which is -$128.45. The bill breaks down the electricity costs into Electric Supply Services and Delivery Services. Notably, the bill shows the Generation Service Charge, indicating that the customer was charged for 314 kWh at a rate of $0.12175 per kWh, totaling $38.23 in Electric Supply Services. This same equation is used to compute net metering credits, which increase in value when the utility’s electricity rate goes up. Although the bill pertains to the billing period from 12/11 to 01/11, the chart on the left column shows monthly kWh use. Interestingly, the homeowner with solar did not use any kWh from April to September, accumulating more net metering credits to offset the electricity bill’s cost even in winter months, as demonstrated in this bill.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is your daily usage with Solar?
Solar energy has various applications, such as solar electricity, solar water heating, solar heating, solar ventilation, solar lighting, portable solar for personal electronic devices, and solar transportation for electric vehicles.
How much solar can you put back into the grid?
As most electricity retailers currently accept a solar capacity of up to 5 kW. However, irrespective of this limit, it is advisable to link your rooftop solar panels with a battery to maximize their potential.
How do you calculate daily solar production?
To determine the daily output of a solar panel, multiply the panel’s STC rating by the peak hours of sun it receives per day, then multiply the result by 75%. This calculation will give you the total amount of watt-hours the panel can generate in a day.
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