More than any other question, homeowners ask whether adding solar panels is worth the price. Financially speaking, installing solar panels requires a significant personal investment. Many homeowners mistakenly believe attaching solar panels to their homes will automatically eliminate their traditional electric bills. This article informatively answers the question, “Do you still have an electric bill with solar panels?”

What Are Solar Panels?

Solar panels (i.e., photovoltaic or PV panels) capture sunlight and convert it into electrical energy by initiating an electric current. This renewable energy source can provide an alternative power supply for homeowners compared to traditional grid-based sources. The average home has more than sufficient roofing square footage to justify the installation of solar panels and can structurally support a solar energy system as well.

Solar Power In California, The Leading Solar Energy Producer

As America’s most populous state, California also produces more solar energy than any other state. Nearly 1/3rd of solar power emanates from the Golden State. Demand continues to increase statewide as more homeowners seek alternative and eco-friendly ways to incorporate renewable sources into their energy consumption habits. An investment in solar panels opens the door to accessing affordable power and tax incentives.

The Benefits Of Installing A Solar Energy System

Today, more than ever, adding solar panels to a home is affordable. Pursuing a solar energy strategy makes sense with federal and state tax credits and other incentives available to most homeowners. Many attractive financing options exist for the qualified homeowner to install solar panels. If the grid goes down ( or a rolling blackout occurs), solar energy systems continue providing uninterrupted electricity access.

In California, Do You Still Have An Electric Bill With Solar Panels?

You could, but it depends. Almost every California household with a solar energy system will still receive a monthly electricity bill unless your home is totally off the grid. Very few homes qualify for (or can afford to) exit the grid. Why would a homeowner using solar panels to generate electricity continue receiving an electric bill? There are several reasons, including the following considerations:

Accessing Solar Battery Storage Can Be Cost-Prohibitive Compared To The Grid

Excess electricity can be stored for future use by the homeowner who has installed solar panels combined with a solar battery storage system. However, having enough battery storage available to power a home for prolonged periods can be cost-prohibitive. Remaining connected to the grid for occasional access to electricity may be less expensive.

Certain Expenses Associated With The Electricity Bill Are Unavoidable

solar rooftopUtility companies invoice customers for certain service expenses regardless of the amount of electricity they use. These monthly fixed fee amounts include:

  • customer service costs (e.g., account maintenance)
  • administrative billing  
  • general operations
  • meter reading
  • distribution costs
  • transmission costs

Lack Of Net Metering As An Option To Obtain Credit For Excess Solar Generation

Homeowners who utilize the utility billing program known as net metering receive credit for their excess solar production. When solar panels create more electricity than the homeowner needs, that extra energy transfers back to the utility grid for other homeowners to use. However, net metering is not available everywhere. If net metering is not an option, excess electricity may be unavailable.

Not Having Solar Battery Storage Results In No Viable Means To Access Excess Solar Power

Solar panels do not automatically come with a solar battery storage system. During peak sun hours, solar panels often generate more electricity than the homeowner requires at that moment. Without a practical way to store excess solar energy, it may become lost. When the sun has set, a homeowner may need to rely upon the grid again for electricity.

Solar Panels Do Not Always Produce Sufficient Electricity For Your Immediate Need

Sometimes, the electricity needed for a homeowner exceeds the available output produced by solar panels. During those periods when the electricity demand is high, the homeowner must rely upon a grid-tied source to make up for any difference in supply from solar power and immediate requirements to continue accessing electricity uninterrupted.

Solar Panels Require Sunlight To Generate Electricity

To generate electricity, solar panels need the sun. Because some days are cloudy or overcast and considering that the sun does not shine 24 hours a day, homeowners will occasionally need to draw on electricity from the grid if they do not have adequate battery storage. Even solar panels that produce electricity at maximum efficiency may not meet the electricity demands during dark or stormy hours.

solar on metal roofWhat is Necessary to Eliminate Your Electric Bill?

To completely exit the electrical grid, a homeowner would typically need the following:

Renewable Energy System: Installing a renewable energy system, such as solar panels, is essential for generating electricity off-grid. These systems capture renewable energy sources and convert them into usable electricity.

Sufficient Energy Storage: Incorporating adequate energy storage solutions, such as batteries, is crucial to store surplus electricity generated by the renewable energy system. This stored energy can be used during times when the renewable sources are not producing enough electricity.

Inverter and Charge Controller: An inverter is necessary to convert the direct current (DC) electricity produced by the renewable energy system into usable alternating current (AC) electricity for household appliances. A charge controller helps manage the charging and discharging of the batteries.

Energy Management System: Implementing an energy management system can optimize energy usage and ensure the most efficient allocation of power. This system may include smart meters, energy monitoring devices, and programmable control systems4.

A backup generator can serve as a backup power source during extended periods of low renewable energy production or in emergency situations5.

It’s important to note that the specific requirements may vary depending on local regulations and building codes. Before attempting to go off-grid, homeowners should consult with local authorities and a reputable roofing contractor that specializes in solar installations to ensure compliance with any legal obligations and safety standards.

Hiring A Roofing Company To Install Solar Panels

If you own a home in Sacramento, CA, contact Straight Line Construction today for your roofing needs (replacement, repair, solar, and gutters). We have the expertise to provide the optimal solutions and deliver knowledgeable guidance. Connect with us to learn more about our unmatched services, or schedule a complimentary consultation.