How to Read Your Electric Bill After Installing Solar
In all of the preparations and waiting for your solar PV system to be installed, excitement can build for the moment when you can turn your solar panels on and start generating your own solar energy at home. Now that you are generating your own renewable electricity, you might wonder how it factors into your electricity bill: what happens to your energy costs after solar, and what can you expect when it comes to savings after solar installation? Finally, how can you keep an eye on it?
Here is everything you need to know about reading your APS or SRP electricity bill after you have installed solar panels on the roof or property of your Phoenix area home.
How to Read Your APS Electric Bill After Solar
One common question customers ask is “will I receive an electric bill after installing solar?” The answer is yes, you’ll still continue to receive monthly electricity bills from your utility. However, your APS electric bill will look slightly different from what you saw before going solar.
Summary of What You Owe
On the first page, you should still see your account information and the overall summary of electricity charges and what you owe for that metering period. One of the first things you may notice is that you have a negative balance! This customer’s APS bill shows a negative balance of $97.60!
When you have a negative balance on your APS electricity bill, it is because the amount of electricity you purchased from APS and delivered to your home was less than the electricity you generated with your solar panels and the amount of excess electricity you exported back to the grid, or sold back to APS.
Charges for Electricity Services: Purchased vs. Sold
Page 3 of your APS breaks down all the costs and charges that make up your electric bill. On the right-hand column, you’ll see the electricity used broken out into a ‘purchased’ vs. ‘sold’ section.
In this first example, the customer used 881 kW at a cost of $44.93 in this month and then sold back to APS 673 kW at a Solar Export Credit amount of -$70.33, giving the customer a total negative bill balance of -$22.45.
Solar Export Credit and RCP Rates
When reading your APS electric bill, you also want to take note of your service rate plan (#2). This customer is on a Saver Choice Max plan with APS. Next to the service plan are the letters RCP. This stands for Resource Comparison Proxy rate. As Arizona no longer has 1-to-1 net metering rates for exporting excess solar generated electricity back to the grid, customers export this excess solar back at a slightly reduced retail rate – called the resource comparison proxy rate. The total credit then appears as the ‘Solar Export Credit’ based on your RCP rate you locked in with APS when you went solar in the line under ‘Net Electricity Credit’. RCP rates can change annually so it pays to go solar before any future rate changes.
What Happens When Demand is Greater Than Exported?
In some months, if your energy demand is higher than what your solar energy can generate and you end up purchasing more electricity from the grid, you could see a small electricity charge on your APS bill. This also tends to happen once you’ve used up your remaining Solar Export Credit balance from prior months of negative net usage.
In the example below from a November monthly APS bill, purchased electricity with peak demand charges totaled $81.85 whereas the RCP rate for solar generated exported electricity totaled a Solar Export Credit of -$55.59. This left a remaining charge for the customer of just $31.62 for the month. Still an overall savings if the customer did not have solar installed at all.
How to Read Your SRP Electric Bill After Solar
Similar to the APS electric bill, SRP provides comparative information about total electricity charges, solar-generated electricity, and general usage but in a slightly different format.
On page 1, you have your service price plan, ‘Customer Generation Plan’, a graph of energy history over the last 3 years, a breakdown of on-peak and off-peak usage for the month, and a summary of your charges with the total amount due.
SRP: Customer Generation and Metered Energy – Explained
On page 2, you’ll see the year-to-date breakdown of your energy usage split into four sections.
Energy Consumption: This is the total energy you generated or purchased by SRP including both on-peak and off-peak periods.
Customer Generation: This is a summary of what your solar energy system generated during each period.
Metered Energy: This shows both purchased and sold energy. Any exported or sold, energy will be shown as a negative number. Anything purchased will be a positive number.
Percentage of Energy Consumption Offset by Generation: This shows the percentage of your energy consumption supplied by your solar energy system. Any percentage above 100% means that excess electricity was exported and sold back to SRP.
What To Expect With Arizona Solar
Of course, a properly designed solar PV system should be aimed at eliminating all of your energy costs, increasing how much money you save from solar, and decreasing your payback period. However, not every month will be exactly the same, so there are some things to consider: your energy consumption will be higher during certain parts of the year, and your solar output will fluctuate from month to month.
Here at SouthFace Solar & Electric, we make sure to include at least one year of historical energy data from your previous energy bills, so that we can paint as accurate a picture as possible in your free solar quote. If you have questions about your solar PV system or are in the process of researching solar installation for your Phoenix home, we’re here to answer all of your questions!