The first bills after going solar can be quite exciting! If you’re a Sunnova customer with a home solar system, you will continue to receive two bills – one from your solar energy provider, and one from your utility company.
If your home solar system includes our Sunnova +SunSafe® add-on battery storage system, you may receive three bills – one from your solar company, one from your utility, and one from Sunnova for the battery.
Each utility is different and receiving two bills may be confusing. We are here to help you understand all the details.
Is My Home Solar System Connected to my Utility?
By law, your home solar system will be connected to your local utility. In addition, your home solar system will benefit from the utility connection:
- At night or during times of low solar production, your home may need to pull electricity from your utility.
- Your utility may offer net metering, which means you can receive credits on your utility bill for excess solar energy you send to your utility.
Will I Still Have an Electric Bill with Solar Panels?
Because your home solar system will be connected to your utility, you will continue to receive a bill from your utility company.
Your solar panels will produce clean, affordable energy. However, the energy offset by your solar production depends on how much energy your home consumes at any given time. A home solar system can reduce your utility bill when combined with smart energy consumption - if you are using more energy at home because your home has solar panels, your energy offset will likely be minimal.
If you have a home solar system, we recommend you focus on three parts of your utility bill:
- Service Charges, Fees, and Taxes. The service charge is a flat rate for being connected to the utility and any fees. The services charges, fees, and taxes usually will not change after going solar.
- Energy Charges. This section of your utility bill will show your usage of utility electricity and the cost of that electricity. If you have a home solar system, your energy charges may depend on a variety of factors, including seasonality.
For example, if you need to increase your use of an electric heater or air conditioner, you may need to pull more electricity from your utility. In addition, if there are clouds or storms for several days, your solar production may be limited, and you may have to pull additional electricity from your utility.
If your utility provides credits for net metering, these credits will help offset the cost of using electricity from the utility.
- Net Metering (NEM) Statement. If your utility offers net metering (NEM), you will receive a monthly NEM statement as part of your monthly utility bill. The NEM statement may show a monthly and/or year-to-date snapshot of NEM charges and credits.
Most utilities in the United States reconcile solar customers’ billing every month. However, some utilities (like PG&E in California) have an annual billing cycle: PG&E customers with home solar are only reconciled and billed once a year.
Your charges or credits from your utility = (kWh pulled from your utility * utility rate) – (kWh of excess home solar production sent back to the utility * NEM credit rate).
Homeowners may also benefit from a home solar + battery storage system. Excess solar production can be stored in the battery for later use, which can further reduce the amount of electricity your home needs from your utility.
What Is a True-Up Statement?
If your utility has annual billing for home solar customers, you will only pay any services charges, fees, and taxes monthly.
Every 12 months, you will receive a true-up statement for any electricity pulled from the utility that was not offset by excess solar energy sent to the utility. Excess credits will be reset to zero before the next 12-month cycle begins.
How Much do Solar Panels Save on Electricity Bills?1
To figure out your home solar savings, it will take a little math and some data collection. We recommend comparing a full year of utility and home solar system bills in order to account for seasonal changes.
- Look at your utility bills from the 12 months before you went solar.
- Look at your utility bills from the 12 months after you went solar plus the matching 12 months of home solar system bills.
- Compare the pre-home solar system utility bill with the matching post-home solar system utility bill for the same month.
- We also recommend looking at the full year pre-home solar system versus the full year post-home solar system.
If you’re a Sunnova customer, your home solar system will be custom-built to meet your home energy needs. If you start using more energy or if you make large modifications to your home (like installing a pool or charging an electric car), your home energy needs and associated costs will change.
If you’re a Sunnova customer and you’re considering making upgrades to your home, contact us to learn more about adding additional solar panels and/or battery storage.
Billing for Sunnova Home Solar Energy Plans Explained
If you’re a Sunnova customer, you may receive two or three bills:
- Bill from your utility company, including any NEM credits (if eligible).
- Bill from Sunnova based on your home solar energy plan.
- If you have a Sunnova +SunSafe® add-on battery, this will be a separate bill from your home solar system.
Easy Plan™ Equipment Lease
With a lease, you will have steady monthly payments to lease your home solar or home solar + battery storage system equipment. Your home solar energy plan may include an annual monthly payment increase, also known as an escalator.
Easy Plan™ Power Purchase Agreement (PPA)
With a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA), you will pay for the energy your home solar system produces at a low solar rate. With our variable billing option , your solar energy bill varies month to month. With our balanced billing option, although the amount of energy your system produces will vary month to month, you have flat monthly payments for the year. With both plans, you have the option to make a partial or full upfront payment to reduce your solar rate and save even more on your energy costs.
Easy Own Plan™ Equipment Purchase
With the Easy Own Plan™, you will get a loan or finance agreement for your solar panels and pay steady monthly payments to own your home solar system. Since you own the home solar system, you may be eligible to collect any federal and state incentives.2
Your Sunnova True-Up
If your Sunnova home solar system has an energy guarantee, we commit that your system will produce the estimated amount of energy outlined in your agreement, or we will credit or refund you the difference.
With our Easy Plan™ equipment lease and Easy Own Plan™ equipment purchase, your home solar system’s production will be evaluated each year to validate the annual production guarantee, beginning on the third anniversary of your service agreement. If your home solar system underperforms, we will issue a true-up to refund or credit the difference. Our Easy Plan™ Power Purchase Agreement with balanced billing has an annual true-up. We will evaluate your home solar system’s performance every 12 months unless you paid upfront in full, in which case your production will be evaluated at the end of your 25-year agreement.
For all Sunnova home solar energy plans with a production guarantee, your credits will continue to roll over for the duration of your agreement. Note that our production guarantee is not available in Florida, Hawaii, Guam, Saipan, and Puerto Rico.
It’s Time to Go Solar
Utility costs may be changing across the country, but with a home solar system, you can protect yourself from unpredictable rates and take control of your home energy costs by going solar with Sunnova and locking in a low rate for 25 years.
Interested in going solar? Curious about adding battery storage? Sign up to get a custom quote.
1. Individual savings will vary based on your utility rate, your energy consumption habits, the solar system equipment installed on your property, your tax incentives eligibility, weather and other factors. In some states Sunnova’s products are not designed to offer savings. Customers located in states or territories other than CA, CT, MA, RI, NY and NJ are likely to perceive savings substantially lower than 20%, if any. Individual savings estimates are based on your solar energy production, your solar kWh rate, potential tax incentives, your utility kWh rate at the time of purchase, and projected increases in the utility rate (based on historical data and national averages). Estimates do not take into consideration other changes in utility rates. Such changes could affect your overall estimated savings. Sunnova does not guarantee savings.
2. You may be eligible for a federal tax credit with the purchase of a solar system. To qualify for the tax credit, you must have federal income tax liability at least equal to the value of the tax credit. Additional tax credits may also be available for homeowners in certain states. Tax incentives are subject to change or termination by executive, legislative or regulatory action. Sunnova makes no guarantees regarding eligibility of any of the system’s costs for tax benefits. Sunnova does not provide tax advice. Contact your personal tax advisor for eligibility requirements.