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Bills are still High, even with a recent Solar Installation?

Posted 29 Feb

Have you installed Solar, but your Energy Bill is still high?⚡Here's why.

Why you're still being charged for grid consumption with solar.

Solar power continues to be a popular addition to residential properties, due to the numerous benefits of installing a solar energy system at your home; not least of which is the reduction customers can make to their monthly electricity bills by adopting renewable energy, rather than strictly relying on grid power.

However, some solar customers may be experiencing higher energy costs than they were expecting, or are surprised to be paying for electricity at all! So why are you still being charged for grid consumption with solar? And why might these costs be unusually high?

On-Grid vs. Off-Grid Solar

Solar is a great renewable solution to high energy costs. Importantly, there are two types of solar/battery solutions: On-Grid and Off-Grid.

Off-Grid means that your property has been completely disconnected from the electricity grid, relying solely on solar, battery and generator energy to power the residence. Off-Grid properties are rare and require specific maintenance.

It is far more likely that your property is On-Grid, meaning that you are still fully connected to the electricity grid and utilise a combination of solar energy and grid energy to power your home. 

off-grid solar system
Solar battery system

Why am I still being charged for Solar?

If you only have a solar system installed on your roof, you will be using the amount of energy produced by the solar to power your home:

  • If you use less power than your solar produces, you will feed the extra solar back to the grid and receive credits from your energy retailer for doing so.
  • If you use more power than your solar produces, that power comes out of the grid at a cost.

At night, when there is no solar being produced, you will be again reliant on grid electricity, unless you have installed a solar battery that can store excess energy from the daytime to be used at night and in case of a blackout.

In all these cases, an On-Grid property will likely use some grid electricity within a month when excess energy is needed. Therefore, customers should not expect their energy bill to read zero the moment they install solar power at their home. 

However, your energy bills may still read as unusually high, given the solar that you have recently had installed. 

Why is your electricity bill so high after installing solar?

There may be a number of reasons:

1. Reduction to your Feed-in Tariff (FiT):

The Feed-in Tariff is the credit rate at which energy retailers will pay for every kWh of energy that a customer’s solar system feeds back into the grid. Many energy retailers were offering generous FiT rates in order to attract solar customers to their service. However, over the past year, these benefits have greatly decreased across many electricity companies. Customers who could have been receiving up to 21 cents per kWh last year may now be receiving as little as 5 cents per kWh. Hopefully, this is set to change soon. 

If your energy bills have gone up recently despite your property having solar, check your energy bills to see the FiT rate you are now operating at.

Feed-in-tariff reduction
Electricity price increases

2. General Electricity Price Rises

During 2023, there were two major price rise events for the electricity market. These may have initially gone unnoticed for solar customers receiving a good FiT, but with the combination of a lower FiT and skyrocketing grid energy prices, any excess energy that homes are drawing from the grid will be charged at an exponential rate. This is likely contributing to increased bill costs.

The best solution to this issue is the installation of a solar battery system, which will greatly reduce grid reliance and protect you during power outages. 

3. Higher Energy Use Since Solar Installation

Many customers assume that installing solar gives them a free pass to use “a whole lotta power.” And, to an extent, this is true! However, if you have upped your energy use since installing solar, you may be exceeding the amount of power produced by your solar system and therefore incurring significant cost.

If you suspect this may be the case, there is a simple way to find out. Compare a recent energy bill that includes your solar system to a bill that you incurred before installing solar. Specifically, compare the peak and off-peak energy consumption between both bills. If you are consuming more energy in the period after installing solar, this is likely contributing to your bill price. This can be rectified by managing your energy use.

Solar installation with high energy use
Nighttime residential property

4. Consuming Energy at Night

Without battery storage, energy produced by your solar system can only be used during daylight hours, when the photovoltaic system is energised. If you have an unusually high bill, you may need to consider the times at which you use high-energy appliances in your home. For example, running your dishwasher, washing machine and air conditioner during night hours will be drawing lots of electricity from the grid, and therefore incurring cost. 

If you are reluctant to install a battery system at your home, you will need to consider using these kinds of appliances during peak daylight hours to reduce your energy bills. 

5. Bad Weather

If all previous options don’t seem likely, a higher energy bill at a home with solar could be explained by a particular bad month of weather. Though solar panels are still energised on cloudy/rainy days, they do not nearly produce to the extent of clear and sunny days. Consider whether the month has been affected by prolonged poor weather. 

Bad weather residential commercial
Solar installation elite power group

6. Retailer is Unaware of your Solar

When solar is installed at your home, the installer is tasked with notifying your energy retailer of the extent and compliance of the system that has been installed. They then request that your energy retailer change either the physical metering or simply the energy plan that your property operates under so that your bills will reflect the particular FiT offered by the retailer. 

Elite Power Group takes pride in ensuring that this Service Works Request (SWR) procedure is completed in full and to the satisfaction of our customers. However, if you are unsure if your installer has undertaken this on your behalf, double-check that your energy bills include a solar FiT section. Contact your retailer ASAP if this appears to be missing from your bill, as you are not receiving the full financial benefits of your solar installation. 

7. Solar System Failure

This is the final and most unlikely situation. Solar systems are highly durable and simple to troubleshoot, so the likelihood that your bill price is due to a system failure is low. Elite Power Group prides themselves on high quality workmanship, however we are also committed to hearing our customers and rectifying any issues that may arise in our systems. 

Your installer should have access to online monitoring of your solar system. If you suspect your solar system may have issues - after considering the former reasons why your bill might be inflated - reach out to your solar installer to check if this is the case.

Solar system failure

If you had your solar installed by another company but would like Elite Power Group’s expert technicians to look over your system to ensure it is functioning optimally, reach out to us and request a Solar Health Check. We can visit your property, inspect your system, and provide you with a comprehensive report on the health and future projections of your solar system.

Though energy prices are on the rise, there are many steps you can take to lower your monthly electricity bill. Installing solar is the first step! However, managing your solar system and energy consumption is important to seeing sustained energy bill reduction. 

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Bills are still High, even with a recent Solar Installation?

Solar owners may be experiencing higher energy costs than expected. Why are you still being charged for grid consumption with solar? Why is your bill still high?

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