Why Am I Still Getting a Utility Bill after Going Solar
After going solar, the amount of power that your system generates varies depending on the season. Your solar power system will generate less power than you use during the fall and winter months. It will produce more power than you use during the spring and summer months. If you begin generating energy during the fall or winter your solar power system will eventually “catch up” to your electric bill. Depending on when your system is turned on, it may take up to a year for it to catch up with your electric bill.
Depending on when you install solar, it can take time for your system to catch up to your utility bill
Solar panels can zero out your annual cost for electricity
Many solar companies, including Freedom ForeverTM, claim that it is possible to zero out your electric bill if you install a large enough solar power system. What they mean by that is that it’s possible to zero out your annual electric bill by going solar. Residential solar systems are designed to match or exceed your annual average electric bill. But in months where your system generates less than its average annual power output, or you use more electricity than your average, you may receive a bill.
In months where you use less electricity than average, and/or your system generates more than its monthly average, you will receive a credit on your utility bill. Those credits roll forward and accumulate as the year progresses. At the end of the year, most utility companies will send you a “true-up” bill.
If your utility charges you a flat rate and If you used more electricity than your system produced then you will owe the utility company some money. Should you use less power than your system produces, then the utility company pays you for the excess.
If your utility charges Time of Use (TOU) rates, then it’s a bit more complicated. If you incur a higher bill because you used a lot of power at peak rates, then your system may not be able to generate enough credits to offset that peak rate usage. You would end up getting a bill in that circumstance. In fact, high peak TOU rates are the reason some homeowners add batteries to their system. The batteries are used to supply power to the home during the peak rate hours.
How to ride the seasonal “solar roller coaster”
Just like riding a roller coaster, there will be months when your system’s production is rising, and some months when it’s falling. You will typically build up credit during the spring and summer months, and then consume some or all of those credits during the fall and winter months.
March: The solar coaster goes up: If your solar power system is first turned on in the fall or winter months, you should expect to continue receiving a bill for electric usage. Plan to be ready to pay your solar loan and a partial utility bill.
October: the solar coaster goes down: If your solar power system is first turned on in the spring or summer months, then you may find that you start receiving bill credits. Remember, you’ll be using those credits during the fall and winter. If you don’t have that many good months ahead of you, then you may not save up enough bill credits to get through the winter months without getting a bill. Your solar system’s power production typically declines sharply beginning in October.
How long will it take for a solar power system to “catch up” to your utility bill?
The amount of time it will take for your system to catch up to your utility bill will vary. At the minimum, after your system has been operating for a year, it will have caught up to your annual average electric usage, and you’ll be enjoying all of the savings that come from going solar.
Winter may be the best time to go solar
It usually takes just one day to install a solar system. But waiting for the utility company to come to your home, inspect your system, and give you Permission To Operate (PTO) can take up to a couple of months. In fact, that’s a point of frustration for many new solar panel system owners. They have their system installed and are eager to start generating free electricity from the sun. But then the utility company drags its feet. Unfortunately, there is nothing Freedom Forever or any other solar power company can do to speed up your utility company. We are just as much at their mercy as you are.
Because of the potential delay in getting PTO from your utility company, if you install on New Years, you may have to wait as long as late February or early March before you get PTO. By then, depending on where you live, you may be getting enough sunlight to cover your electric bill. By the middle of March, the days are significantly longer, and you should definitely see a much smaller bill or even no bill at all!
With careful planning, any time is a good time to go solar
By carefully planning how to manage your utility bill and solar payment, any time is a good time to go solar. If your system is first turned on during the low production months of October to the end of February, plan to set aside a little extra to cover your reduced utility bill and your solar payment. If your system is turned on toward the end of the high production months, plan to minimize your electrical usage to save up as much of your bill credits as possible. It would also be a good idea to set some money aside just in case you don’t save up enough bill credits to cover your winter usage. In conclusion, after a year, your system will be all caught up and you’ll be enjoying the full benefits of going solar.
Anytime is a great time to go solar with Freedom Forever! Call us at 866.840.2207 or click here to request a free quote