How to Read Your Electric Bill After Installing Solar Panels

Installing solar panels on your home can significantly reduce your electricity bills. However, reading and understanding your new electric bill can be confusing at first. This article will provide a step-by-step guide on how to read your electric bill after going solar.

Overview of Net Metering

When you install solar panels, your utility company will switch you to a net metering program. This allows your solar panels to send excess electricity back to the grid. Your electric meter will now run forwards and backwards to track electricity coming from and going to the grid.

During the day, your solar panels will produce more electricity than you need. This excess electricity gets exported back to the grid, making your meter run backwards and giving you credits.

At night, when your solar panels aren’t producing, your home pulls electricity from the grid. This makes your meter run forwards and uses up the credits you accumulated during the day.

Over the billing cycle, your utility company calculates the net difference between the electricity you imported from the grid versus exported. This is how net metering works.

New Sections on Your Electric Bill

After going solar, your electric bill will have new sections related to your net metered solar panels:

  • Electricity delivered – This shows how much electricity was delivered to you from the grid. The amount should be lower than before installing solar.

  • Electricity received – This shows how much excess electricity your solar panels exported back to the grid. This will be credited on your bill.

  • Net usage – This shows the net difference between electricity delivered to you versus received from your solar panels. You are billed for this net amount.

  • Credit rollover – If you exported more than you imported, the excess credits roll over to your next bill.

  • Charges – The charges section will now show separate line items for delivery, supply, and taxes for both your net usage and excess solar credits.

Sample Electric Bill with Solar Panels

Below is an example electric bill to illustrate what your new solar net metered bill might look like:


Electricity Delivery Details Electricity delivered: 250 kWh Electricity received: -350 kWhNet usage: -100 kWh (Credit)Credit rollover from last month: 20 kWhCharges:Delivery charges for net usage: $0  Supply charges for net usage: $0Delivery charges for solar credit: -$15  Supply charges for solar credit: -$20Tax: -$1Total Charges This Month: -$36 (Credit)

In this example:

  • 250 kWh was imported from the grid
  • 350 kWh was exported to the grid
  • So the net usage was -100 kWh (100 kWh credit)
  • Plus 20 kWh credit rollover from previous month
  • Charges are billed only for net usage, not total solar production
  • Customer receives a $36 credit this month

Understanding Your Solar Production

Your utility bill only shows the net electricity after solar, not your total solar production. To view your actual solar panel production, refer to your solar monitoring platform. This will show the total amount of electricity your solar panels generated each day.

Be Aware of New Charges

Some utilities are applying new fixed charges, minimum bills, or solar fees on net metered customers. Check your bill for any new line items and understand how these charges are applied.

Use Your Solar Credits Wisely

In many states, you can accumulate excess solar credits indefinitely to offset future bills. Some states expire credits after 12 months. So try to use up any accumulated credits before they expire. You can do this by increasing electricity usage or switching to more electric appliances.


Learning to read a post-solar electric bill takes some getting used to. But you’ll quickly understand all the new sections and how your net usage and solar credits are calculated. Referring to your solar energy monitoring system will give you insight into your total solar production. With a basic understanding of how net metering works, you can maximize the savings from your solar panels.


How does billing work when you have solar?


Kilowatt hour usage (kWh) – Your kilowatt hour usage is the amount of your electricity usage plus the cost of the electricity used. If you have solar, your utility bill will only charge you for the kWhs you’ve used from the utility grid.

How do I know how much electricity my solar panels are generating?


To calculate the electricity output of a solar panel, multiply its wattage rating by the solar irradiance, said Gallagher. The result will estimate the energy output in kilowatt-hours per day. However, daily energy output can vary due to temperature, panel degradation over time, and system losses, Gallagher said.

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