Yesterday we got our second electricity bill after the solar photovoltaic panels got installed.
Our first bill was actually a credit. Well, not quite. The company still charges a monthly fee for being connected to the grid. So even if you produce more electricity than you use, you still owe them that fee.
Fee aside, last month we produced about 4x electricity, but only used 3x. Hence we had x credit for the following bill cycle. The first month after the panels were installed was especially sunny so we benefited from those “extra” sunny days.
Fast forward to our latest (and second) bill apres solar panels. It’s been cloudier the past four weeks and the bill shows it. We had x credit and produced 3x electricity. However, we used almost 7x electricity last month.
Quick! SAT math skills everyone!? What’s the answer??
Yes, we owe 3x–plus that monthly grid fee.
Unfortunately, solar production goes way down on long cloudy days, but we still produce something, even when it’s completely gray out. It’s roughly 4 percent of our max system production. Not great. At least it’s something though.
For the moment, we’ll probably be in a cycle of using more than we produce and likely owe money each month. However, the way this normally works is we build up a credit starting in mid-spring, continue through the summer, and then into early fall. Theoretically, we should be producing much more than we are using. Theoretically, we should owe only that grid fee for about six months of the year.
Come November, though, we’ll start tapping our credit. In the ideal world, we’ll use up the last of our credit in March, just before our annual “squaring up” with the electricity company April 1st (no foolin’).
This year’s cycle of build up credit/tap credit is “off” because our system came online in September (or was it October?), after peak solar production. Next year will be the real test case.