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If I install solar panels, do I still get an electric bill? 

Francisco CastroMay 16, 20192920

The whole point for the installation of solar panels on your home is to reduce your electric bill and not have to keep paying the increasing rates of power your utility charges.

But having residential solar panels doesn’t mean you will be completely off the hook from your utility. In fact, they are the ones who give the green light for your home solar energy system to start operating.

And yes, you will still be tied to the grid, even when your domestic solar power system is producing energy at high capacity. Remember, those panels only work when there’s light available, even if it’s cloudy, but won’t work at night, when it’s dark.

At night - unless you have a powerful battery for storing the extra power generated by your residential solar panels, which are still very expensive - you will buy the electricity from the utility. However, if you have net metering, you will offset the cost of that energy by selling power to the utility during the day. If you properly match the size of your home solar energy system to your electricity needs, you could have  

To find the costs for solar panels for your home, all you have to do is take a few seconds to access the Hahasmart price checker, that will provide you with the actual price of solar panels and inverters, which are the most critical parts of a solar powered system, as well as provide you with an estimated cost of installation based on thousands of completed solar projects in your area. All you have to do is provide your address and your average monthly utility bill.

They’ll even provide you with an estimated buyback period, the point where the electricity savings cover the purchase of your residential solar panels and your system becomes free.

In addition, they’ll connect you with their installer network to get your residence equipped with solar power as possible.  

Which brings out to the question of whether you will still get an electric bill?

The simple answer is yes. 

First, because you’re still hooked up to the utility, you will have to pay connection and maintenance fees. That may mean $20-$40 a month, but not nearly as what you were paying before.

You will still get a monthly statement showing how much energy you sold and bought from the utility in that cycle, the amount of credits you get, and other pertinent information. But you might not have to pay for it right away.

Instead, you will get a “True up” bill at the end of the 12-month cycle of your solar installation. The annual billing cycle starts the same date your system turns on (not necessarily the date it was installed) and ends a year later. 

On that “true up” bill you’ll see a breakdown of the electricity produced by your system, how much electricity you used for the year, when electricity was used and credited, how much energy you sent to the utility, the retail electricity rate used to value the kWh credit accrued and the amount owed based on Net Usage or kWh used. 

If you use gas, your solar panels won’t cover the gas portion of your utility usage, so you’ll still need to pay for that as usual.

Eventually, your system may produce enough power that the utility company will owe you money, instead of the other way around. But that’s not always the case and depends on your energy usage and other factors.

“True up” bill too high?

It could also be that your “True-up bill” is too high. If this happens, there might be some issues to consider. 

Homeowners with solar-powered homes are often surprised when they get this annual statement and it shows that they owe a lot of money. How is that possible?

They might panic and think their solar panels are not working properly. The savings they thought they would get from their solar power system are nonexistent. 

If this happens, it could be because the system is, in fact, not working as it should. You should pay attention and constantly check the energy output of your residential solar panels. If you notice any sudden drop in the energy production, contact the installer and ask them to check the entire system for any problems.

If it turns out that the domestic solar power system is working fine, then the problem might be that you’re using too much electricity. Maybe the installer didn’t take into account certain large appliances like central air conditioner, heat pump or other devices when he made the calculations for the size of your solar power installation. Maybe you need to add some extra solar panels to correct this.

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