August Solar Electric Bill

by Ben N on October 1, 2020

Today, I opened my August electric bill. It was NOT what I expected!

So, I’m a little late. I got my bill nearly a month ago. However, personal and family matters have kept me busy from making videos lately. So, the bill sat until now, when I finally got a chance to open it on camera.

I had to confirm that, YES, this was my HIGHEST ELECTRIC BILL EVER!
And by Highest, I mean the highest amount the power company has owed me!

I had a credit of $64.72! I needed to go through my old bills and confirm that I’ve never earned this much in a single month before. This summer, I had a couple of months of credits in the $50+ range, but never above $60.

It looks like the main reason why I earned such a good credit is because of being on a Time of Use Plan. I found that by being on that plan, not only did my electricity COST more during the day, but I would also be CREDITED at that higher value for power I export during the day!

My bill stated 520 kWh of electricity exported during peak times for a value of a $104 credit.

Not only did I earn a good credit this month, but my total ROLLING CREDIT I’ve earned this summer is looking pretty good too!
Currently, the power company owes me $270.04!

I also did a check-in on the basics of my simply economic Return on Investment. So far, I’ve produced 23.5 MWh of energy. Multiplying that out of the $0.13/kWh typical of my area gets me an economic value of $3055. Seeing as my system cost me $6,500 after incentives, that means my solar system is 47%, or nearly HALF paid off.

The real math is actually a little more complicated than that. The Time of Use plan makes my electricity MORE VALUABLE. That means the system will pay for itself FASTER, but the math behind it is more complicated as well!

Also, most people never seem to forget other factors in the value of solar. For example, paying for electricity often has sales tax on it. (In my state, we pay sales tax in the summer, but not in the winter, as electricity could be considered a heating fuel.)
Likewise, a person has to EARN money, pay INCOME TAX, on it, and then pay for the electric bill and other expenses on the money that’s left over. Accurately calculating the value of taxation gets complicated, but it’s easy to see how making your own electricity actually saves MORE money than you might think.

For now, let’s just say that I’m plenty happy with my solar!
My $270 credit should really help get me into winter WITHOUT paying a bill. It will be interesting this year to see WHEN I have to pay a bill, instead of earn a credit. Think we can make it until January? I guess we’ll just have to wait and see!

Until next time, stay charged up!
-Ben Nelson

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