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How to Decipher Your Energy Bill with Solar

By July 5, 2021July 6th, 2021Blog

A new commercial solar installation also means a different look for your utility bills. Commercial and industrial solar in California can provide a variety of savings, but organizations should prepare for a closer look at how they will be using electricity. Coldwell Solar can consult with you on understanding your monthly energy bill – here are some important guidelines to keep in mind.

The Electric Usage Profile

This is a monthly report that shows electricity usage for the period and how it compares to past usage throughout the year. This clearly delineates kilowatt-hours uses, average kWh per day, and the specific kWh readings associated with your bills. This is an important starting place, because it allows a solar energy company in California to conduct accurate analysis of how much an organization can save through solar energy, and how their monthly bills could change. It’s also the starting place for deciding how much usage can be replaced with solar energy: From agricultural solar energy systems to urban installations, owners may have different target goals to reach.

Note that after a solar installation has been activated, the usage profile may not be as accurate as it was before, and numbers on the solar monitoring reports often differ from numbers reported on the traditional usage profile, which can only show the energy that passes directly through the meter. It’s important to consult both your monitoring report and usage profile.

Total Distribution and Total Generation/Transmission Charges

This is a common entry on utility bills, monthly charges that covers the cost of transferring electricity from the grid to a specific building and generating the electricity. These charges are worth mentioning because they can often be reduced or eliminated by increasing reliance on solar energy and represent another point of savings for an organization.

kWh Used By Meter

This is a helpful section created for solar energy users that indicates how much electricity was used from by grid – in other words, the portion of electricity that was not covered by the solar installation’s energy. Watching these numbers over time can help understand the difference that solar energy is making for a specific facility.

kWh Received

A utility bill with this section will show how much electricity was passed into the grid from the solar installation. When the solar system creates electricity that the associated facility does not use – whether because the amount of energy generated exceeds demand, or because energy is being generated in off-hours when the facility is not active – it provides that electricity to the grid to bolster utility resources. This can also generate solar energy credits and offer proof for meeting sustainability goals.

Net Metering and Net Usage

This important section is a summary that shows overall kWhs used, passed back to the grid, and rolled over from the previous period. Think of it as a snapshot profit and loss statement for electricity use over a period of time.

Minimum Delivery Charge

This charge doesn’t apply in all cases, but some solar owners may see it. It represents a charge that utilities make on solar installations specifically to help fund the overall maintenance of the electric grid.

If you have any further questions regarding energy usage, please contact us. Our commercial solar energy solutions in California include consultations that can provide you with the information you need to understand the impact of a solar installation, and expected savings throughout the lifetime of the system. When you are ready to decide, our commercial solar company can help you plan the construction process and provide the key installation services you need.