What Is A Negative Energy Bill? (And How Can YOU Get One?)


Once upon a time, you were tired of paying outrageously high electric every month. After much thought and deliberation, you decided to make the switch to rooftop solar, so that you’d be responsible for your own power, and not at the whims of the merciless grid. The installation process was quick and painless, and the panels on your roof looked sleek and futuristic, but the real moment of truth came when you got that first electric bill after your solar installation… and it was negative.

It sounds too good to be true, but it’s just the reality of having your own solar power system.

If you’re ready to have the electric company pay YOU, for a change, here’s how it works:

Net Metering 101

You know that little box on the side of your house that tracks your electricity use? Well, that meter works two ways. When you have a solar power system installed, you have the ability to both use energy from the grid and send energy to the grid, thanks to your rooftop energy production system. In a case like this, you’ll actually see the meter spin backward as you feed power onto the regular electric grid. When your panels are not producing, the meter will spin forward again, tracking how much electricity you’re pulling from the standard grid.

At the end of the month, if you have produced more energy than you have consumed, then that negative electric bill will appear in your mailbox.  Most solar customers accumulate those negative electricity bills in the non-air-conditioning months of the year.  Their credits continue to build until they turn on the AC.  In the months when the AC is running usually the home will consume more energy than the solar system and your credits start to go down.  If the system is sized right then your credits will make it all the way through the summer.

How Much Will I Save?

Your savings will vary by the size of your house, the number of panels you have installed, the slope and shape of your rooftop, and the weather in your area. Credit accumulation will also vary by season since typically solar panels produce more energy in the summer than in the winter, but your usage is usually higher also. It is best to gauge your savings after a complete year after installation. If your system is installed right before summer hits and the AC goes on, then you may still have a partial electricity bill through this first season.  But if your system goes live in the Fall then it is possible to offset the whole bill in the first year.

Your family’s individual energy usage also comes into play here—if you like to keep your home at 58 degrees in the middle of summer, chances are you may be less likely to see a negative electric bill.

With all of the above said, the savings are still clear. The numbers don’t lie: The average Texas homeowner saves $12,461 in energy costs over a 20-year period by going solar.

How Do I Get Paid?

Here’s the twist—you get paid in the form of energy credits. So, no, the energy company won’t send a check to your house, but in the dead of winter when it’s been cloudy for weeks, and your solar panels aren’t generating as much power, those credits will help pay your electric bill. Think of it as investing in your winter electric bills during the summer… by doing nothing but let your solar panels soak up the sun. (And your credits never expire!) You’ll have more control over the bills you pay each month, and your overall electric cost for the year may even out to little or none.

If you’re ready to get a negative electric bill, we can help. We’ve been helping thousands of Texans get in on negative energy bills for over a decade, and we’re just getting started. We won’t stop until there’s solar on every rooftop in Texas! Contact us today to see if your utility offers net metering or check out our solar calculator to see if solar is a good fit for your home and budget.