Understanding an electric bill after going solar

solar meter

What are kilowatt hours anyway?

In order to understand solar energy production, it’s helpful to have a grasp on how it is measured. The size of a solar system is often described in kilowatts (kW). Watts are a unit of power that we use to express output of energy that the system is producing.  

One kilowatt = 1,000 watts

So, kilowatts measure power while kilowatt hours measure energy usage and production over a set period of time. This is how your utility company determines how much electricity to bill you for. All the appliances in your home have a rating based on how many watts of power they use.

When sunlight is captured in a solar array, it produces electricity measured in kilowatt-hours (kWh). One kWh is produced when a kW of power production is sustained for one hour. 

Net Metering

Net metering is a billing mechanism that allows residential customers who generate their own electricity from solar power to feed electricity they do not use back into the utility grid. When your solar system is installed, you will also get a bi-directional meter that will measure both the electricity you are purchasing from your utility and the excess electricity you are sending back to the grid. 

net metering bell curve solar vs the grid

Utility power usage from the grid drops when solar is on site

You are charged only for your “net” energy use from that meter; which is the electricity you purchased minus what your system sent to the grid. If your solar system generates more kilowatt hours (kWh) during daylight hours than you purchase in a given month, you receive a 1:1 credit on your account for those excess kWh. 

When your usage is low, like a Wednesday afternoon when everyone is at work, surplus solar production is sent to the utility for the same price you pay for it, reducing your bill, and saving you money.  The utility can then utilize this power, sending it to your neighbors to support their needs – selling it to them on the same power lines you are using!


real life solar customer electric bill


What will your particular electric bill look like after going solar? That will depend on a few aspects, including your particular solar system’s energy production, your local electric rate and your household’s energy consumption. When assessing your home for solar, a goal is to build an array that will generate as close to 100% of your household’s energy usage as possible. This is dependent on additional key factors such as roof space, budget and tax liability. Our experts will help you create a financial equation that balances your electric bill and energy needs. Then, it is as simple as adding up the thousands of dollars you’re not spending over the years by using solar, especially as energy prices continue to increase.

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Energy Storage for Solar

Battery backup storage can be an added benefit to a solar energy system. 

Here in the Carolinas, we are no stranger to power outages. Many of our solar customers look into renewable energy because they want alternative electricity options when their lights go out. 

batter backup storage for solar

Understanding Battery Backup

In order to receive the benefits of net metering in our area, a solar system is connected to your home and the utility grid. Because of this, it will automatically shut off during a power outage along with the electricity in your home for safety purposes. Once power is restored, the panels will begin producing again. 

Battery backup allows your solar system to keep your electricity continuously running, even during outages. Some people also consider it as an alternative to net metering, becoming completely independent of the grid. At Southern Current, we believe in empowering you through education to help you understand the advantages and current options for battery backup. 

Solar batteries

Read more at Solar Reviews

Recent Updates on Battery Storage

Battery storage technology is constantly improving and new innovations are on the horizon. Lithium-ion batteries are becoming more prevalent over the traditional lead-acid battery hookups. Additionally, the cost for battery storage is forecasted to drop rapidly in upcoming years. Southern Current is committed to working with South Carolina customers to meet your energy goals, including battery backup. 

To discuss battery backup storage for solar

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If you currently have a solar system installed on your home, your solar consultant can help you determine the steps to retrofit your system with battery storage. Because everyone uses energy differently, your battery can be sized to match your needs, just like your solar system. 

Learn More About Tesla Powerwall Storage

tesla powerwall solar battery backup

Combine Tesla Powerwall and solar panels to power your home 24/7, even when the grid goes down. Installing Powerwall with Southern Current is easy. We take care of everything from system design, permitting, installation, and financing.




net metering South Carolina

Solar Incentive Coming To An End In South Carolina

Changes are coming to residential solar in SC.

Two of South Carolina’s major utilities are changing the way clients benefit from the solar energy they produce on their home in 2019.  As of March 15th for Duke Energy customers, and when SCE&G clients hit their capacity cap, the terms of their offered rates for solar will no longer be as strong as they currently are.  System costs will remain the same and solar will still make sense for the long term, but, if no new net metering program is approved, the fall-back rate structures could add 6-8 more years to the payback period for the investment.  The current Net-metering that we all enjoy will be gone.

net metering South Carolina

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So, What is Net-Metering?

Net metering is a billing mechanism that credits solar energy system owners for the electricity they add to the grid. For example, if a residential customer has a PV system on the home’s rooftop, it may generate more electricity than the home uses during daylight hours. If the home is net-metered, the electricity meter will run backwards to provide a credit against what electricity is consumed at night or other periods where the home’s electricity use exceeds the system’s output. Customers are only billed for their “net” energy use. On average, only 20-40% of a solar energy system’s output ever goes into the grid. Exported solar electricity serves nearby customers’ loads.”  Source: Solar Energy Industries Association.

The current South Carolina Net Metering program is a 1:1 credit. If a solar customer exports excess electricity back to the utility, the utility will compensate the customer at the same rate that the utilities charges them for electricity. For example, if a SCEG customer consumes 1 kwh of electricity, then SCEG will charge them $0.13.  If this same SCEG customer sends back 1 kwh of electricity to the grid, then SCEG will credit the customer $0.13.

When your usage is low, like a Wednesday afternoon when everyone is at work, surplus solar production is sold to the utility for the same price you pay for it, reducing your bill, and saving you money.  The utility can then instantly transfer this power to your neighbors to support their needs (selling it to them on the same power lines you are using!).

The image below represents net metering. It demonstrates when the sun is shining and the solar panels are producing more energy than being used in the home, the energy goes back to the grid. While at night, your home is pulling that excess energy back from the grid to light your home. 

net metering South Carolina

Image Credit: Energysage


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What is changing about the Net Metering policy in South Carolina?

Once the cap is hit for SCE&G and the date is hit for Duke, the tariffs (rates) in place will negatively impact solar clients.  The utility companies will cease giving a 1:1 ratio credit for the electricity produced and exported to the grid.  For instance from the above example were SCEG was compensating you a $0.13 credit for each kwh you sent to grid, they may only credit you $0.05 for that same kwh.  The utility will pay you less for a kW you produce than a kW they produce, even though they sell the one they get from you back to you or your neighbor for full retail.

SCE&G’s Program

SCE&G’s net metering program will end once their capacity cap is achieved. This cap can be hit at any time due to large commercial projects grabbing allocations of the program, but the expectation is currently March or shortly thereafter.

For net-metering applications approved prior to the capacity being reached, customers will be able to take advantage of the current net metering policy. This policy allows the customer to receive a 1:1 ratio for energy they sell back to the grid. They are grandfathered into the program until 2025.

The image below shows the capacity status of SCE&G’s net metering program as of 1/31/2019.


Image Credit: SCE&G

Duke’s Program

Duke Energy has already hit the cap they have set previously and then extended accepting applications out until March 15th.

Net-metering applications approved prior to March 15, 2019 will be able to take advantage of the current net metering arrangement. This arrangement ensures the customer will receive a credit at a 1:1 cost for each kW-hour exported to the grid. This also grandfathers them into the program until 2025.

Will my rates go up? How much?

Your rates will not change for power you use, but the price the utilities pay for the kWh of power you send back to the grid  could be cut in half. If the utility charges you $0.13kwh for power, why should they not PAY you a $0.13kwh for power? Especially if they are able to sell the power they just bought from you BACK to you or your neighbor for full retail.

Can I install a solar system after this date?

Yes!  You can still install a solar system after this date.  System costs and performance are not impacted. 

Why Go Solar Today?

  • Net Metering Policy is changing – utilities will give you less than a 1:1 ratio for energy you create
  • Federal Tax Credits are changing- tax credits will remain at 30% until the end of 2019, they drop to 26% in 2020, and to 22% in 2021.
  • State Tax Credits are NOT changing – we have one of the best tax credits in the country.

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net metering South Carolina

You can make a difference; contact your Legislator!

Solar net metering programs are due to expire in mid-March in the Upstate and in mid-2019 for most other areas of the state, eliminating the ability of customers to reduce their energy bills by going solar.  

Legislation is pending at the Statehouse. It will:

  • Remove the net metering cap and solar leasing caps and allow ratepayers freedom to choose their own energy source
  • Ensure fair compensation for what solar users generate and use by calculating the net energy used over the course of a month
  • Prevent non-solar customers from paying for revenue lost by a utility because of solar.
  • Prohibit utilities from setting discriminatory rates specifically for solar customers.

It’s time to take action!

Free-market competition in the energy sector will lower bills, create jobs, and increase energy independence. In the first 100 days of 2019, South Carolina lawmakers have the opportunity to create a better energy future for all South Carolinians by taking clear and decisive action on clean energy competition.

Contact your legislators today and ask them to strengthen your energy choices, support the Energy Freedom Act, and lower your power bill.


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Learn More About Southern Current

Southern Current is proud to be one of the top Solar Installers in the Southeast, with specialties in residential solar for homes, commercial solar for businesses, and utility-scale solar farms for property owners and utilities. Schedule a solar consultation today to receive a free analysis of how much money you could be saving with a solar!

Duke’s Net Metering Program Reopens For A Limited Time

From now until March 15th 2019, Duke’s net metering program is open!

Duke Reopens Net Metering Program

Duke Energy agreed to reopen the recently closed net metering program for renewable energy.  The net metering program, gives solar customers credit for every kilowatt at the same rate they pay from the electricity company. This one-to-one ratio makes solar energy competitive in the marketplace and gives customers a great ROI on their solar system.

Quote from Southern Current’s Director of Regulatory Affairs

“The (extension) speaks to the fact that we have a constructive dialogue underway,” says Hamilton Davis, director of regulatory affairs for Southern Current. “This is a temporary fix, but the hope is we can have legislation we can propose together early in 2019.”


Duke net metering


What is Duke’s Net Metering Program?

Duke’s net metering program allows customers who generate electricity from their own solar panel system to offset their energy costs. Net metering participants receive bill credit from Duke Energy for the excess energy generated by their solar panel system.

Going Solar Now!

If you are thinking about going solar, the time to go is NOW. Duke’s net metering program will to remain until mid-March. However, South Carolina Electric & Gas is approaching their net metering cap as well. Be sure to capitalize on your solar investment as soon as possible. South Carolina has the highest electricity bills in the United States and solar can help reduce or eliminate your electric bills. Southern Current was named South Carolinas #1 Solar provider by Solar Power World and Charleston’s Choice – Best Solar Panel Company for 2 years running.

About Southern Current

Producing your own energy with solar offers a lifetime of rewards including lower power bills, higher property value, and numerous environmental benefits. Southern Current is proud to be one of South Carolina’s leading solar installers, with residentialcommercial, and utility-scale solar services available across the Southeast. Contact Us to find out how much you could be saving with a solar project at your location!


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