Saving money on your electric bill is one of the primary benefits of installing home solar panels. Solar panels use energy from the sun to produce electricity so you can buy less from the grid and use your own, self-generated electricity to power your home instead.
But can solar eliminate your electric bill entirely?
This is one of the most common questions we hear from California homeowners who are thinking about installing solar panels. The answer is no; you can generate 100% of your own electricity with solar, but unless you install an off-grid system, you will still have an electric bill with solar panels. However, your solar electric bill will likely be significantly reduced, and with incentives like California’s solar net metering program, you can save even more on electricity.
How Do Solar Panels Affect Electric Bills?
When you install residential solar panels, your electric bill doesn’t just go away. Your house will remain connected to the electric grid, and you will continue to receive a monthly statement from your utility company.
Most utilities, including PG&E, have a minimum service charge that all customers pay every month, regardless of how much electricity they export from the grid. You’ll continue to see these charges on your monthly statements after you install solar panels.
Electricity Delivery Charges
When you install solar panels, you will most likely continue to purchase some electricity from the grid. Home solar systems typically generate some or most, but not all, of the electricity a home needs, and homeowners supplement with grid-generated electricity, especially at night.
Your delivery charge is what you pay for the electricity you buy from the grid. Your solar panels can reduce or even eliminate this amount, depending on how much energy you generate and how much you use.
Net Energy Metering
Net metering is a solar incentive program that allows you to export the excess electricity your solar panels generate to the grid in exchange for credits on your account.
Some months, you may use more electricity than you produce, resulting in a charge. Other months, your solar panels may produce more electricity than you consume, and you’ll receive a credit. Your net metering usage is tracked by a special electricity meter that will be installed at your home when you install solar panels.
PG&E tracks net metering on your monthly statements. You’ll see a net energy metering account summary on every bill which will show you your year-to-date net metering generation and consumption.
Net metering in California is tracked on all your monthly statements, but you won’t reconcile your charges and make a payment until you receive your annual true-up statement.
Your true-up statement reconciles all of your electricity delivery charges and credits for the year. If you have a balance remaining, it will appear as a charge on your next statement. If you have a credit remaining, your NEM balance will be reset to zero and you won’t have to make a payment.
Maximize Your Solar Savings with Premo Solar
Premo Solar is a leading local solar provider near you in Monterey Bay. We design custom, premium solar energy systems that maximize your electricity production and solar battery storage capabilities so you can save as much money as possible on your electric bills.
As a local company, we are very familiar with net metering in CA and how it will impact your electric bills. If you have questions about how much you can expect to save with solar and what your average electric bill with solar panels will look like, just give us a call. Our solar experts are here to help you learn everything you need to know before going solar in Monterey, Salinas, or Santa Cruz.