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How Do I Read My Electric Bill?

This week we’re focusing on the most common question we get after someone has installed solar and energy storage: “How do I read my electric bill?”

Standard electric bills are hard enough to read, but when you have solar and storage you almost need a degree in forensic accounting to figure them out.

At a high level — and forgive my cynicism — we are pretty much stuck with a ridiculous array of random charges from utilities. The good news is with a properly designed solar and battery storage system you can completely eliminate your electric bill.

The bad news is that with the majority of the population working and schooling at home over the past year, our electric bills are at an all-time high. The added electricity consumption (measured in kwh), plus annual rate increases (those $/kwh numbers add up), plus Community Choice Aggregation electricity providers cross-billing, make it almost impossible to determine how well your solar and storage system is working.

You need to know three things in order to evaluate the economic performance of your system:

  1. Your annual True Up statement, usually 12 months after your system was interconnected. This statement tells you how much your charges and credits were each month, in both kwh and dollars.

  2. Your total solar energy generation amount in kwh, which comes directly from your monitoring system. Beware, do not believe the amount that the utility says you generated; that number is ALWAYS wrong.

  3. The projected amount of electricity, in kwh, that your solar and storage contractor expected from your system.

Once you have these three pieces of information, and a dictionary to decipher the blitz of TLAs that we’ll explain on this week’s Energy Show, you will have a better understanding of your electric bill.


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