April 2020 Electric Bill

by Ben N on May 15, 2020

At this time of year, it’s always fun to open my electric bill, to see how much money the power company OWES ME!

Last month, I had a credit of over eleven dollars. This month, we have had more sunny days, and the sun is getting higher in the sky. So, I expect even better numbers.

This month’s bill was a credit of $33.56. Combine that will my existing credit from last month, and the power company now owes me $45.07.

Keep in mind that this doesn’t mean the solar saved me $33.56 this month. Oh no, it saved me much more than that! By going to my micro inverter software, I can run a custom production report that matches the dates covered by this bill. When I do that I can add up the numbers and multiply them by the rate I would be credited at for that time. When I do this (manually, on a scrap of paper and pocket calculator) I get a total value of $108.07.

Something else that’s interesting is how TAXES also figure in to the calculation. In the state of Wisconsin, we have to pay sales tax on electric bills, but only during “Non-Heating Season” months. (The reasoning is that some people heat with electricity, and that heat for a home is not taxed.) That includes this month. I’d normally have to pay 5% on TOP of whatever my bill is. For whatever reason, when I see somebody do calculations on a simple return on investment, they never seem to include this.
(On this month’s bill, I had to pay $0.01 in sales tax. I believe that’s the minimum they could charge, as they couldn’t CREDIT me the sales tax!)

On top of that, a person doesn’t have to pay INCOME tax when they don’t have to earn money to pay for an electric bill. Assuming a person is an American who is in one of the standard Federal tax brackets, you might have to pay, for example, 22% or 24% on your earnings before you even have the money to pay the electric bill.

To pay a $100 electric bill, at a 24% income tax, a worker has to earn $131.57, to pay $31.57 in taxes and then pay the left-over $100 for the power bill.
I didn’t have to pay the $31.57 OR the $100.

If a person becomes unemployed, having a reduced utility bill is almost as good as money in the bank.

At this point, my system has paid for over one-third of the initial cost (and that’s NOT including tax savings!)

Learn more about this solar system at: https://300mpg.org/bens-solar-garage/

You can always see live solar data at: https://enlighten.enphaseenergy.com/public/systems/PqBp1213167

Until next time, stay charged up!
-Ben Nelson

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