How do solar panels work in the sense of billing? Do you not have an electric bill? Are you just paying for the panel itself?

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How do solar panels work in the sense of billing? Do you not have an electric bill? Are you just paying for the panel itself?

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10 Answers

Anonymous 0 Comments

It depends on what state you’re in and whether or not you purchased your panels or leased them.

You can have a company install solar panels on your roof, all the electricity it generates belongs to the installer because you didn’t pay for anything. You sign an agreement with them called a power purchase agreement where you buy electricity from them for a set amount of years for a discounted rate.

The other method is purchasing the panels yourself, there are 2 main ways you’re billed through this, one is net metering and one is gross metering and it depends on what the laws are in the state you live in.

In a net metering agreement, 1kWh of energy is 1kWh, it doesn’t matter who produced it, the electric company or you. If your solar panels produced 30kWh of energy and you consumed 30kWh of energy your billed for 0kWh, you still pay a connection fee but you pay for no energy.

In a gross metering agreement, all the energy you produce that you don’t use right away gets sold to the electric company at a wholesale rate so you’re incentivized to use as much energy as you can while the sun is up and as little as you can when the sun sets. This generally comes with a time of use rate schedule as well where electricity is cheaper at night than it is in the daytime.

In every scenario, as long as you’re connected to the grid you get a bill.

Anonymous 0 Comments

It depends on your location, power company, how many panels you put up, how much sunlight you get, and what type of energy storage you have.

Some jurisdictions and power companies allow net metering, which means you can sell excess power back to the power company when the panels are making more energy than you need which is then credited towards future bills, some don’t allow it.

It’s possible to put enough panels up to completely cover your electric needs, but you’d also need battery storage to provide power for when the sun isn’t out if you don’t want to use power from the electric grid during those times.

Anonymous 0 Comments

It does vary by location. Sometimes you can sell your extra power back to the grid and get a negative bill if the conditions allow it. Whether you can do this, and what the rate would be, varies. It is very common to keep your electrical grid connection regardless, but some months you will have no bill, some months you’ll have a refund, and some months (eg: winter) you’ll still pay, just not as much as before. The weather varies, and an overcast day is going to be pretty bad for solar panels, and so on. Keeping the power grid connection has a lot of value.

In terms of the original installation, it’s usually an upfront cost to be paid once, maybe on a loan, and maybe with some government incentive programs you can take advantage of. Again, it varies. But initial installation is often in excess of $10,000. But once it’s done, it’s pretty minimal maintenance. Keeping the panels clean is important but you could do that yourself.

But it’s not just the panels. Panels produce DC power. Your home runs on AC power, so an inverter to convert is required, at an absolute minimum. Since solar does nothing at night and has highly variable power production during the day, some form of battery is fairly common as well. This lets you minimize your power needs from the grid at night and deal with the variable power production. That also adds costs, but you can see the advantages.

It’s rare that solar will get you completely independent of the power grid. It can be done, but having the grid as a backup option is just too good to pass up for most people.

Anonymous 0 Comments


Anonymous 0 Comments

I have panels. I finance them. I pay $150 a month. After my lease is up I own them.

So the way it works is, when the panels generate electricity my meter spins backward. When they don’t it spins normal. At the end of the month I either have a credit or a bill. The panels generally overproduce in spring and fall when the air conditioning or heat is off. So for April May and Jun I usually don’t have a bill. As the air kicks on it eats into my credit and get a low bill in July and August.

My electric bill is usually $100 or less throughout the year.

Overall it saves a few hundred $ a year.

Note my bill also include the cost to build a roof over my deck so we could put on more panels.

Anonymous 0 Comments

We have 23 solar panels on our roof. In the beginning we were making payments to the solar contractor who put them on and this payment was less overall than our original electric bill. When we refinance the house we had the amount of money we still owed on the panels put on the mortgage so now we own them out right.

We have an electric bill once per year and it is called a True Up bill. Since we are part of SDG&E we get royally screwed and owe about $500 per year.

Anonymous 0 Comments

Assuming *you* own your solar panels, this will depend on your agreement with your power provider. It often works like this:

– When the sun is shining, any extra power you don’t use goes to the grid to power other buildings
– Your energy provider keeps track of how much electricity you *give* to the grid
– You get credits for that much free power to pull from the grid at some other time that month
– You only pay for electricity if your monthly needs from the power company exceeds your excess production

If you produce enough electricity, you basically have no electric bill (you’ll still need to pay a basic “on the grid” fee that ranges from $5 to $15).

If you have a battery in your home and you produce enough solar to cover all your needs, you may be able to just leave the grid entirely, but that’s not usually a good idea. It’s better to have a backup plan.

Anonymous 0 Comments

I have solar panels that I own outright. They’re connected to an inverter that connects to the grid. Any energy being generated from the panels is first applied to whatever I’m doing in my house in real time and then if there’s any excess, it’s redistributed back to the grid. Every month, I enter into an online portal how much was power was generated last month from a screen on the inverter, and I get paid based on that. You can see my current usage right [here](

Anonymous 0 Comments

The solar panels are attached to your house after the meter.

Any energy flowing to your house from the panels does not tick the meter, so you get it for free.

If your solar panels are providing more energy than your home is using, then the energy runs backwards through the meter, running it backwards. If at the end of the billing cycle, your meter is before where it started, you get credited for that energy you provided to the grid at a supplier rate (slightly less than you would have paid for that same amount of energy). You are still billed a delivery charge, because that charge is for the maintenance of the grid itself.

Anonymous 0 Comments

We bought ours outright. Since solar panels don’t have a consistent output and we don’t have a battery we still have to be on the grid. We have to pay about $12/ month just to be connected to the grid, even if we produce more electricity than we use.