What Happens After You Get Solar Panels?
Before you go solar, you’ll probably do a lot of research about types of solar panels, how solar panels are installed, and the best solar contractors near you. But one of the most important questions to ask isn’t about what happens before or during your solar panel installation, but after.
Today, we’re going to talk about how solar energy billing works and what you can expect from your power bill after installing solar.
You Will Still Have an Electric Bill with Solar
One of the most common misconceptions about solar panels is that they will get rid of your electric bill entirely. Unless you install an off-grid solar system and cut ties with your power company completely, this is not the case. If your solar system is tied to the electric grid, as most residential solar panels are, you will still have an electric bill with solar. It will, however, look different than your electric bill before solar panels.
There are three key parts of your electric bill:
- Fixed charges – Fixed charges are charges that always remain the same. Fixed charges cover the cost of running the electrical service, and every customer has to pay them regardless of how much power they consume.
- Usage charges – Usage charges are what you pay for the power you consume. They fluctuate monthly.
- Solar export credit – You receive solar export credits when you send excess electricity from your solar panels to the electric grid.
You Can Have a $0 Electric Bill with Solar
Your electric bill won’t go away with solar, but it is possible to eliminate the cost of electricity when you offset your usage with solar.
When your solar panels are producing more electricity than you can use, the excess is automatically sent to the grid. Your power company will pay you for the power you send them by crediting your account with a “solar export credit”. Your export credit is subtracted from your usage charges, making it possible to have a usage charge of zero.
After about ten years, you’ll reach your break-even point. This is when you’ve saved so much with solar panels that your system has paid for itself. At that point, your bill will be very low and your installation will be paid off.
Sizing Your Solar Panel System for Maximum Savings
If you want to reduce your electric bill with solar panels as much as possible, you need to make sure you install a large enough system. To size your system correctly, it’s important to start with an electrical assessment. This can be done through an analysis on your bills or with a device that’s plugged into your electrical panel. The device measures how much power your house uses so your system can be sized to meet your electricity needs.
Reducing your electricity usage before going solar can help you save on your solar installation by reducing the number of panels you need to meet your power requirements. Home improvements, like installing LED light bulbs, adding insulation, and energy-efficient appliances can help you do this.
At SouthFace Solar & Electric, we usually recommend a system that’s slightly larger than your current need. This is to future-proof your system and make sure it can keep up with your power needs as they inevitably grow over time.
Take Control of Your Own Energy with Solar Panels
We believe in helping people take control of their own energy production here at SouthFace Solar & Electric. Our solar power experts can help you become energy independent with a custom home solar panel system.
We have over 35 years of combined experience and are the leading solar installer in Maricopa County, Yavapai County, Pinal County, and the surrounding areas. If you have questions about how you can reduce your electric bill or whether solar is right for your home, we are here to help! Just give us a call to chat with one of our solar power experts.