Understanding Your Utility Electric Bill After Solar

Understand how to read your electric bill after solar is installed

Understanding Your Solar Electric Bills

Whether you're new to home solar systems or have been enjoying the benefits for years, understanding your solar electric bills is essential. Luckily, due to your system’s efficiency, your bills are likely lower than before, which is fantastic both for your wallet and the environment!


Reading solar electric bills can sometimes be challenging as they do not reflect the total energy output of your panels. Here's how it works.


Once your solar system is installed, your utility will place a bidirectional meter at your home. This device tracks and reports two key figures:

  • The energy received from the grid.
  • The energy exported back to the grid.

Suppose your solar system is producing power while the sun is up and you are actively using electricity in your home. In that case, the electricity produced by your panels will power those appliances in real time. Power produced by your panels in excess of what you are using on your home will either be used to charge a home battery (like a Tesla Powerwall) or will be exported to the grid. Only the power exported back to the grid will be counted by your meter. This means only the extra energy exported to the grid appears as credits on your bill.


If you look at your utility bill and you're puzzled because your bill does not seem to reflect the full energy output of your panels, don't worry. Your bill will only display the excess electricity that your panels generate and send back to the grid. This excess is either credited or labeled as "received" by your utility company, especially if they offer net metering programs that reward you with credits for this exported energy. Learn more about Net Metering and other Solar billing programs here.


To understand the whole picture how how much energy your system is producing, it is recommended to track your system production in the online monitoring portal. Learn about system monitoring here.


We know reading electric bills, even with the above information, is not easy. For that reason, we have created some visual guides for some of the common utility companies we work with to help you understand all of the different information found on your bill.





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Last updated on May 1, 2024