Going Solar If Your Bill Is Low
One of the primary motivations for going solar is the expectation of lower electric costs. But some homeowners are fortunate enough to have an electric bill of less than $110. What about them? According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, that’s the national average for residential customers. So what’s the incentive to get solar if your bill is low?
How Solar Has Changed Demand
As more Americans go solar, it presents challenges to the infrastructure of the nation’s aging electric grid. For example, in a state like California, where there is more solar installed than anywhere else in the country, utility companies have to implement new policies to keep the grid safe and sustainable. All that solar power generated during the day reduces the strain on the grid, but as soon as the sun sets and solar generation drops off, demand on the grid spikes. This spike is referred to as the solar duck curve and has resulted in Time Of Use (ToU) billing. All three major utilities have ToU billing plans. And all three charge their highest rates between 4 PM and 9 PM when the electricity demand is at its peak.
That’s not all; utility providers have also implemented changes to Net Energy Metering, which allows homeowners who have solar panels the ability to sell their solar power back to the utility companies. Homeowners who generated more power than they used would receive a check at the end of the year. That was NEM 1.0, and it was pretty straightforward, but now California utilities are looking to implement NEM 3.0, which has become more complicated and strongly benefits the utility companies more than homeowners with solar.
Utilities’ New Billing Policies
So what does all this have to do with getting solar with a low electric bill? With ToU billing now the norm and NEM 3.0 on the horizon, homeowners living in states with higher than average energy costs should take advantage of solar sooner than later. Most experts agree that utility customers in California should expect increases in energy costs over the coming years. However, if you combine solar with a home battery, you can beat the high peak rates of ToU billing by charging your battery with solar during the day and then using that stored power at night when energy costs are higher.
There are programs in place like California’s SGIP, where you can even get a financial incentive for installing batteries. Most of these programs are based on battery capacity, meaning the larger capacity of the battery system, the higher the credit you can receive. That coupled with the dwindling 26% Federal Solar Tax Credit, now is the time to go solar if you want to get ahead of the coming changes. When you invest in solar, not only are you adding significant value to your home, you’re also shielding yourself against future rate hikes.
If you’d like an honest assessment of your situation, call or text us today at 951-678-7733. Our Energy Experts will take a look at your electric bill and let you know if solar or a home battery is right for your family. And if solar doesn’t make sense for you, we can still recommend energy-efficient ways to save money on electricity with smart home technology.