Your Utility Bill after Solar

After Tesla installs your solar system, you will still be connected to the grid and have an account with your electric utility provider. Your rate plan may change post-installation as required by your utility provider.

Solar can greatly reduce your electric bill, but you will often still have a residual bill. The size of your utility bill depends on many factors including local utility rates, the size of your system relative to your energy needs, whether you have a Powerwall to store energy and what time of day you use energy. If you are on a Time-of-Use rate plan, you can often minimize utility rate charges by using less energy during peak hours. Setting your Powerwall’s Time-Based Control mode can help automatically reduce your use of expensive utility electricity without affecting your lifestyle.

The cost of energy varies widely by state and rate plan, which is important when considering solar panels and the value of solar energy. Energy rate plan structures, the time of day when energy is consumed from the grid vs. solar and the plan’s net metering rate all impact how quickly you may be able to recoup your initial investment by producing clean, renewable energy. Depending on your location, there may be federal, state or local incentives available to you.

Types of Electricity Rate Plans

The following example are some of the most common rate plan structures throughout our service territories and are intended to serve as a general guide – please check with your utility for details:

  • Fixed Rate Plan
    Pay the same fixed rate per unit of energy, no matter how much energy is consumed or at what time of day.
  • Tiered Rate Plan
    Your energy rate increases in set tiers as you use more energy. Using less energy from the grid by installing solar may significantly reduce your costs by keeping you in lower, less expensive tiers.
  • Time-of-Use Plan
    Energy rates vary based on the time of day, day of the week and/or the season that energy is being used (or any combination of these factors). You can save money by limiting your energy consumption from the grid to times that are outside of peak pricing hours.
    Additionally, you can purchase a Powerwall to store solar energy to use later during peak pricing periods. Using Time-Based Control, Powerwall can be set so that you use your stored energy during peak times so that you are primarily consuming energy from the grid when it is the cheapest.
  • Electric Vehicle Base Plans
    These plans will vary based on the number of energy meters you have in your home.

If you have one meter for both electric vehicle charging and home energy use, your rate will often depend on the time of day energy is used. In this case, you pay less by charging your vehicle and using energy during off-peak hours.

Otherwise, you may need to install a second meter: one for your electric vehicle and one for your home energy. Rates for vehicle charging will depend on time of the day and day of the week, and you will pay less by charging your vehicle during off-peak hours.

Net Metering

Net Energy Metering (NEM) is a program most utilities offer which allows you to send extra energy generated by your home’s solar panels back to the grid for a credit, which will be applied to your future electricity bills. With NEM billing, you only pay your utility for this “net” energy usage. During the day, your solar panels may generate more energy than you can immediately consume at that time. With NEM, you’ll earn credits for this excess energy. When your home energy consumption is greater than your solar system’s output, your utility will apply these credits towards powering your home with energy from the grid.

It’s like cellphone rollover minutes—NEM allows you to “rollover” these energy credits to when you use more energy than your solar panels are generating and/or your Powerwall has stored.

Tesla’s solar power systems are grid-tied and will send excess solar energy to the grid. This also applies to customers with Powerwall, who can take advantage of Net Energy Metering after their Powerwall system is full. Please keep in mind that Net Energy Metering laws vary widely from state-to-state.