Your Solar Panel Installation Starts with the Electric Bill

National Grid Electric Bill
Share This Post
We often get asked how much it will cost to install solar panels on a home. It’s dumbfounding to answer that with an “I don’t know”. After all, we are the solar professionals. We should have that answers
There is only one correct method of estimating the cost of your solar panel system. It starts with knowing the amount of electricity that you consume.
Armed with the knowledge of how much electricity you use. Our solar installer can now size your system. Calculating the solar resources of your home. Solar resources are the slope, shading, and azimuth of your home’s roof or property. We will talk about solar resources in a later blog. With the all the facts now calculate an accurate quote.
We will break down a Rochester Gas and Electric bill in a future blog.


Electric bills can be difficult to read or understand. From kWh, rates, credits, to tariff surcharges. What exactly does all this mean?

To help you understand your electric bill we have provided an example copy of a typical residential electricity bill. It has been broken down to highlight a few important areas.

1) Your account numbers. This number is very important to know. Whenever you speak to your utility or interact online they will likely ask for your number. It’s also required to apply for solar grants and financing.

2) The total amount that you owe your utility company. This number factors in all fees, charges, and past due balances.

3) Your monthly electric usage history, measured in kWh. Please note that this is not a typical electric bill. This particular home has solar installed. All the energy from may-august came directly from the solar panels, so they had no usage from these months. Because, the days get shorter in the winter, they had to draw energy from the utility for Nov-Apr.

Kilowatt-hours or kWh is how your utility measures energy. To break it down even further, “kilo” is a unit that represents any quantity multiplied by 1000. 1 kW is the same as 1000 W. Watts (W), are a basic unit of electrical energy. It is calculated by multiplying amps by voltage. Hours represent the use of any number of watts over one hour. For example, if you ran a 1000 W microwave for an hour, you would have used 1 kWh of energy.

4) Your meter number. This number is also necessary to apply for solar panel interconnection to the utilities electrical grid.

5) Your total usage for any given Monthly billing period. To calculate, the utility subtracts the current meter reading from one month ago. The readings measured are to the left of the total usage. If you have a solar system this number may be negative. A negative usage indicates your system produced more energy than you consumed. Your utility will then provide you with a credit for the next billing period.

6) There are a few important things to note within this box.

– Rate: How much your utility charges per kWh. To see national grids rates check out:

– Cumulative kwh Credit: How much credit you have in your account from previous months. This credit is applied to your total usage.

– Net Metered: This number should be the same as your total usage.

– New Cumulative Credit: How much credit is leftover.

– Anniversary Month: The month that your solar system was officially interconnected.

– Basic Service: The base fee for having your system interconnected. The actual fee depends on your rate.

– Tariff Surcharge: Charges billed by the state, or your local municipality.

7) If you have extra charges to your account they will show up here (late fees, additional service charges, etc.).

8) How much you are being charged for billing services.

Switch to Solar Today

Get a no-obligation free solar assessment & quote.

More To Explore