When talking to new members of our community, one of the first things potential solar adopters ask is, “Do you still pay electricity bills with solar panels?” The short answer is yes, but net metering has made it easier for homeowners to dramatically reduce or completely eliminate residential and commercial utility electric bills.
Apollo Energy is the first B-Corp certified solar company in Denver, Colorado with an ongoing commitment to providing transparent public information about adopting renewable energy. We’ve developed this resource to explain how net metering works and what you can expect your electric bill to look like after you’ve installed solar panels.
Net Metering FAQ
To help you understand all of the ins and outs of net metering, we will outline some of the most frequently asked questions below. Once you’ve got a good grasp on whether or not net metering will work for you, feel free to explore our best questions to ask solar companies before moving forward with your renewable energy home improvement project.
What is Net Metering?
According to the Solar Energy Industries Association, net metering is “a billing mechanism that credits solar energy system owners for the electricity they add to the grid.” So in other words, net metering allows homeowners who produce solar power on their property to essentially sell the energy back to the utility company.
With this, solar energy systems can be designed to meet the approximate annual electricity consumption of a home, regardless of when it will be produced throughout the year. Net metering may also be known as "distributed generation compensation" in some areas.
How Does Net Metering Work?
For most homes, traditional utility meters only go one way. As you use utility power, your electric meter ticks up and you are charged for each and every watt-hour consumed.
With net metering, your home’s utility meter will actually spin backward whenever excess solar power is fed into the grid. As a result, your first utility bill with a solar energy system will be charged as a "net total" of your electricity production and consumption.
Do you still pay electricity bills with solar panels?
If you are still connected to utility power, then yes, you will still receive an electric bill each month. With net metering, however, solar owners are only charged for electricity consumed above and beyond what the solar panel system produces that month.
During the evening (and on long cloudy days), homes can still draw power from the electric grid with energy purchased at utility rates, after first using the excess power that your system has generated during the daytime.
If your monthly electricity consumption is beyond your system’s monthly solar production, then you will receive a small electricity bill for the utility-purchased power.
Can I oversize my system?
Net metering is great for saving money on Time of Use (TOU) electricity rates and long-term energy expenses. However, it is not a get-rich-quick scheme as many environmentally-minded wishful thinkers hope.
Residential solar panels can save you an infinite amount of money on your electricity bills, so long as it does not exceed the utility’s feed-in limit. In Colorado, the state requires all utilities to credit excess residential solar generation up to 10 kW, with municipal utilities and co-ops authorized to exceed minimum sizes.
Talk to your local solar experts.
To learn more about net metering from your local solar experts, please contact Apollo Energy for a five-star experience. We are here to answer all of your questions to understand whether or not a net-metered solar energy system makes sense for your home’s electricity.
Are you still looking for the right reason to go solar? Check out our Top 3 Reasons to Go Solar in 2021.