Why Installing Solar Panels Doesn’t Eliminate Your Electric Bill?

Solar panels are becoming more popular daily, with many people considering installing them to reduce their electricity bills. However, it is essential to know that solar panels do not entirely eliminate your electricity bill. This article aims to explain why.

No Net Metering

Net metering is a system in which your utility company grants you credits when you give them excess energy after fulfilling your daily energy needs. Its rates depend on your electric rate, net metering terms, and your utility company’s value of credits. However, suppose your utility company doesn’t have a net metering program. In that case, you’ll have to pay for electricity when needed, especially on stormy days or nights when your solar panels won’t generate electricity. Plus, you won’t have net metering credits to cover the cost.

Nights and Cloudy Days

Solar panels require sunlight to generate electricity. However, it's not always sunny, and some days have less intense sunlight than others. Also, there is no sunlight at night, and hence your solar panels won’t be able to generate electricity. During these times, you will have to rely on the utility to power your home, which shows up on your electricity bill.

Absence of Solar Batteries

Batteries are important for storing extra energy during peak sun hours when energy output is high. This can later be used at night or on stormy days. However, if you don’t own a solar battery, you’ll have to pay for the electricity you get from the grid.

Utility Service Charges

Even if you entirely generate your electricity and are grid-tied, you will still receive an electricity bill. The bill will include different utility service charges combined with electricity prices and some fixed charges independent of electricity consumption. The fees can include transmission, customer service, and distribution charges.

Factors Affecting Your Electric Bill

The amount of electricity bills depends on the following factors:

Your Power Consumption

The amount of electricity you consume depends on the number of appliances you use and the duration of their use. Running more appliances for longer times will increase your reliance on the utility grid since your solar panels won’t meet the high consumption demands.

Utility Company Fees

It is important to ask your utility company about the bills you’ll be charged even after installing solar since there are service, delivery, monthly, and electricity usage charges present in electricity bills.

Seasonality and Weather Conditions

Your electricity bill will likely fluctuate since you can have a mix of sunny or cloudy weather. If you live in an area with bad weather, you’ll have to rely more on the utility grid and pay more.

System Malfunction

Although it happens scarcely, your solar panels might face some issues and cannot generate electricity with peak efficiency. In this case, it is wise to talk to your solar panel company about restarting your solar system so that everything starts working properly. You should also look at your solar monitoring app to see how much energy is produced and compare it to previous days. Whatever the case, you’ll likely have a higher electricity bill since your solar panels’ efficiency would’ve dropped.

Solar Offset

Most systems are created with a solar offset of 100%, meaning that the energy your solar panels generate equals the energy you consume daily. However, this is only sometimes the case.

How to Reduce Your Electric Bill

Although solar panels do not eliminate your electricity bill, they can help reduce it. Here are some ways to reduce your electric bill:

Net Metering

If your utility company has a net metering program, you can earn credits from the utility by selling the excess electricity your solar panels generate. This credit can be used to lower your electricity bill.

Reducing Energy Usage

Conserving energy can be easy and cost-effective. You can reduce your energy usage by:

Utilizing LEDs in place of incandescent light bulbs. Turning off devices and appliances which are not being used. Installing an automatic thermostat that only turns on the air conditioning and heating system when needed. Assessing your energy efficiency, costs, and usage in a home audit.

Solar Batteries

Investing in solar batteries to save up all the excess energy generated by your solar panels for later use can help you reduce your reliance on the grid and lower your electricity bill.


While solar panels can significantly reduce your electricity costs, they won't eliminate your electric bill. Without net metering, solar batteries, or reduced energy usage, you may still have to pay for the electricity you get from the grid. However, investing in solar panels and implementing energy-efficient practices can help you decrease your electric bill and reduce your carbon footprint.

Back to blog