Having a solar panel and still having to pay a hefty fee at the end of the month isn’t good, but we are here to help understand why that’s happening.
We’re going to answer the question of why your electric bill is so high with solar panels but first, we should understand how home solar systems work.
How Do Solar Panels Provide Power to Our Homes
Solar panels use sunlight to generate electricity, with the key part of it being a thin layer of semiconducting material that absorbs the sunlight.
Solar panels have solar cells that have the power to harness the sun’s energy.
Once the sun hits these cells, it converts direct current that can be transferred to AC power when stored in an inverter or solar generator.
The power flowing through the inverter is piped through a bidirectional electric meter into the main panel that distributes electricity throughout the house.
With all the AC power being generated and stored in the inverters, you will find yourself having more power than you need.
Any extra excess electricity that you aren’t using gets sent back to your utility grid, meaning that during the night when the sun isn’t shining, you can use the power from your utility grid.
If power is always being sent back to your utility grid, you won’t have to worry about running out of electricity.
The most optimal temperature for a solar panel is around 77 degrees Fahrenheit and every degree above that will start lowering its efficiency.
However, every solar panel lowers its efficiency at a different rate and we refer to that as the thermal coefficient.
Optimal Solar Production
Your most optimal solar production will happen during the long, cool sunny days, but that’s not to say that you won’t produce a large amount of power during summer.
This will still be the case but only because the lower efficiency is offset by longer days.
Summer is also the period where you use most power especially if you are making use of a cooling system.
The ongoing use of a solar panel system in your home should significantly reduce your electric bill and for some people completely do away with it.
But what about the people who are still stuck paying high electric bills when using solar panels? What’s the reason?
Solar panels will reduce your electric bill if they are installed properly and receive adequate sunlight.
Join us as we help answer that question.
Why Is My Electric Bill so High With Solar Panels
Having a solar panel system in place isn’t cheap and the last thing you’d want is for it not to do its job.
Here are some of the main reasons why your solar panel isn’t having much of an effect on your electric bill.
This isn’t always the case as most companies will ensure that your solar system is set up correctly.
However, a lot of problems with solar panels can come from a customer wanting to set up the system on their own.
Companies should always make sure that the system is installed properly, and that the workmanship represents the company’s professionalism.
But sometimes companies or independent contractors forget to do monitoring checks to see if the system is working.
A lot of homeowners have no way to track or monitor their solar system and only ask questions after they receive a heavy electric bill.
Asking questions is important so be sure to ask the installer how you are going to be able to monitor your system and be sure to check on the performance daily.
After a company has finished the installation, ensure that they walk through the operation of the system with you. This can be a readout on the inverter or a clear sign that the utility meter is going backward.
You wouldn’t want to be in a situation where your solar panel has voltage but no current, so ensuring that these checks are covered allows you to see that everything is set up correctly.
This allows you to see that everything is working and that the installation was a success.
You also want to make sure that your solar panel is in good, working condition. If you notice cracks or dents in the solar panel, this can have a direct effect on the performance of the solar panel.
As soon as you notice a dip in performance, you should consider solar panel repair and maintenance, and if it's badly damaged, then you should consider buying a new solar panel.
Beware of False Advertising
Some companies will do anything to ensure that their product is sold, especially building up their product to be something that it’s not.
Many factors influence the performance of a solar panel and a company selling you one without considering them can explain why your electric bill is so high.
Companies that aren’t taking location or the shape of your roof into consideration are simply trying to sell you a product and not get you the most of it.
But these checks can also be done by the customer before purchasing a solar panel.
Checks You Can Perform
You should ensure that the company is legit and trustworthy, offering a warranty should anything happen.
Don’t invest in a solar panel if you are in an area that barely receives sunlight. That’s not to say solar panels don’t work on cloudy days, but a solar panel would require adequate sunlight to perform.
Many customers want solar panels on their roof but don’t consider the condition of their roof and whether there’s space for solar panels.
This is one of the main problems with flexible solar panels as customers don’t consider the surface area.
Measure out the area and maintain your roof so that it’s stable enough to withstand the weight of a solar panel.
Different solar systems have different wattages, so it’s important to find out the average energy consumption in your home. This is measured in kilowatt-hours and can be found on your utility bill.
Solar panels should be facing the South since this is a direction where solar panels can receive maximum sunlight, but if this isn’t possible then the East and West will do.
Ensure that solar panel companies aren’t setting up your solar panel facing the North as this is the lowest sunlight direction.
Another factor that needs to be taken into consideration and is a big factor in how your solar panel performs is tilted direction.
This is all based on the latitude of your location and your solar panel installation team will know what angle works best.
Too Much Power Being Used
A big culprit behind the failure rate of solar panels is the overuse of power during the night.
You may find that you are trying to use too many appliances at once and overcompensating for what you can power with the solar panel.
For example, if you are trying to run an air conditioner using 2000 kilowatt-hours per year and pair that with a washing machine, you might be using more energy than you usually do.
Solar energy is used as soon as it’s generated and when the sun goes down, the power in your utility grid is used. This is the main contributor to your electric bill if you have a solar panel.
The electricity that you are using during the night is imported from your grid since the solar panel isn't producing any energy at the time.
Making use of a mobile application that can track your power usage in the house or simply monitor your meter every day can give you an indication of what appliances are using up the most energy.
Any appliances that don’t need to be powered at night should be switched off so you can save power in your utility grid and keep that electric bill low.
Many customers who purchase solar panels think that they can use more appliances than they used to before owning a solar panel.
Yes, the energy is more accessible now, but if you are using too many appliances it consumes your solar savings and bumps up your electric bills.
Stay Away from Old Appliances
A phenomenon occurs when people are trying to adopt newer technologies in renewable energy, and they aren’t as energy efficient as they were before.
This is called the Rebound Effect. Sometimes we are unaware of what we leave on and appliances are chowing power from the utility grid.
People also decide to whip out some older appliances that have been lying in the attic for a while and think that it’s okay to power using the solar panel.
Older appliances degrade over time and lose efficiency.
They can become big energy consumers as their older and dated electrical components require large amounts of power.
Older appliances weren’t created and designed to make use of solar energy hence why they would consume more power.
If you are powering multiple outdated appliances but have a solar system, it’s time to go out with the old and in with the new.
Understanding Net Metering
Once your solar panel is up and running, your billing will shift to Net Metering, meaning that every day you use the system you will be exploring energy back to the utility grid and importing it when you need to use it.
Your monthly bill will look at how much energy you stored against how much you used, also known as the net.
If you store more energy then you will have credit but if you used more then you will have a balance due.
Therefore, depending on your net, the bill you pay could be high or low.
You shouldn’t overlook these bills instead, you should work on lowering your net so that you don’t end up breaking the bank at the end of the month.
There are a few reasons why your electric bill is so high when using a solar panel, but there are ways to rectify that and get you back on track to living an off-grid lifestyle.
If you ensure that everything is installed correctly, trust the company that is installing your panels, and git rid of any older appliances consuming too much electricity, you will no longer ask the question of why my electric bill is so high.
Did You Find Our Blog Helpful? Then Consider Checking:
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- How to Make Money with Solar Panels?
- Cost-Effectiveness of Solar Panels
- Solar Panel Cost
- Flexible Solar Panels
- How Long Do Solar Panels Last
- Pros And Cons of Solar Panels
- Solar Panel Maintenance
- Do Solar Panels Work in The Winter
- What Happens to Unused Electricity Generated by Solar Panels
- How Long Does It Take for Solar Panels to Pay for Themselves