You've installed solar panels on your home to lower your electricity bill. So why is your bill still high now that you have photovoltaic (PV) panels on your roof? If you were surprised by your last monthly statement, you’re not alone.
With a home solar system, your utility bill depends on many factors, including how your home energy consumption matches your home solar system production.
The amount of energy offset by your solar production depends on how much energy your home consumes. If you’re a Sunnova customer, your installer designed your solar system based on your historical electricity usage and what percentage you wanted to offset based on your budget and available roof space.
Understand that the actual energy offset by your home solar system will vary by weather, season, and consumption changes. You will get the most benefit from your home solar system if you continue to practice smart energy-saving behaviors.
If your average monthly electric bill is high, even with solar panels, here are a few things to think about.
Have Your Energy Consumption Patterns Changed?
All too often, homeowners develop a false sense of energy security once a solar system is up and running. Maybe you turn the AC down a degree or two, install festive outdoor lighting or run more half-loads of laundry — all justified by your shiny new panels.
If you received a high utility bill, chances are, you’re consuming more energy than the amount used to design your solar system. This can occur during the day or at night. Keep in mind that once the sun goes down, your solar panels are no longer producing power. Unless you have a solar battery that stores the excess energy your panels produce to be used later, you’ll have to draw electricity from the grid.
Be mindful of seasonal changes that can impact your energy consumption — from heating a pool to entertaining more guests during the summer months. Also consider the following:
Did you install any new appliances that may be consuming more energy than before? You may also have an appliance that consumes more energy because it is not working correctly. Also, check to see when you last had your AC unit serviced.
Are there more people at home to consume energy? More people under your roof (such as children in the summer months) can cause your electricity consumption to rise.
Did your utility rate change based on seasonality or time of use (TOU)? Utility prices are often highest in the summer and at the times of day when total electricity demand is the highest (like in the evenings). Be sure to understand how your utility is billing you and try to avoid consumption during peak times.
External Factors That May Cause a Decrease in Solar Energy Production
Some regions experience heavy rains in the summer. Have you been dealing with multiple cloudy or rainy days in a row? If you’re experiencing a particularly rainy season or even hazy summer days due to wildfire smoke and debris in the air, your solar production could take a hit.
If you’re a Sunnova customer with a production guarantee, we will make sure you’re compensated for any missed production guaranteed under your agreement.*
Has Your Home Solar System Production Changed?
Sometimes it’s the weather, other times it’s Mother Nature creating obstacles in your own backyard. Check for any:
Dust or pollen that may have accumulated on your panels and are hindering production.
Trees or shrubs that have grown and are shading a portion of your system.
If you notice an abrupt decline in your solar generation but don’t see any obstructions and can’t pinpoint any changes to your energy use, there may be an issue with your system. For anyone who owns a Sunnova solar system, be sure to check out your production on MySunnova.com. If you think there’s a problem, contact our team right away to schedule a service appointment.
Overall, think of your solar energy payoff as a mix of production, consumption, and utility rates — going solar is a great way to hedge against rising utility costs.
If you’re a Sunnova customer and are thinking about upgrading your home, purchasing an electric vehicle or making other lifestyle changes that will increase your consumption, get a quote and learn how to resize your system or add a battery to meet your energy needs.