Solar Offsetting Bills

Solar Offsetting Bills

Dear Matt,

A Salesman gave me a number that showed my payback from solar and how I could take advantage of lower usage months in the spring and fall to help offset my winter and summer utility bills. Is this true?

This is not true and is an indication the salesperson does not understand how net metering works. FreeState has a monthly net metering policy that allows members’ excess solar generation (kWh) to be pushed onto the grid on a sunny day when their usage is low. In the evening or cloudy days, that member then pulls electricity off the grid. This results in two sets of numbers. One for kWh pushed, the other for kWh pulled. At the end of the month, we reset the two numbers or provide the “net.” The member can offset the generation of their bill down to zero kWh for a month but would still owe the meter fee and potentially other fees. Excess generation does not roll over from month to month. Any excess consumption of kWh for that month not offset by generation is still owed to the co-op. This arrangement is called monthly net metering. Some salespeople target our members with misleading information that FreeState’s metering arrangement is yearly net metering and falsly imply that excess generation will pass on month to month. Understanding a metering arrangement is key to understanding and making the decision to install solar, and whether it’s a sound financial decision.