How Much Can You Save With Solar? Check Out My Bills And See

Solar panels on a roof

So you’ve been thinking about going solar, but you just don’t know if it’s really worth it.

You’re thinking, well, if I finance or lease solar panels, I’ll have to make monthly payments, so what kind of savings does that really represent?

It depends, and it’s up to you to do your research to find the best deal out there for you. But the one certainty is that if you have a system designed to handle your needs, you will save money each and every month. If you sell your home, solar will add to its value, meaning more money in your pocket. Not to mention the benefit for the environment.

Now, you might be thinking, Ann, you talk a good game (or write a good game, as the case may be), but show me the savings.

Okay! I have taken screen shots of a year’s worth of bills from Pacific Gas and Electric billed to me. Not some person I don’t know, or taken from some site out there in the ether. Me. These are my bills. They include gas charges, which are shown on the bills. The electrical charges consist of the usual surcharges and such.

I am with Solar City, and one month my system failed to produce the guaranteed minimum (it usually produces over 100% of capacity). I got a check in the mail from Solar City. It wasn’t a huge check, only $1.35, but there it was. We’d had a very dreary month and not a lot of sun. But I still saved a ton of money on my bill.

The highest bills are during the winter months when I heat my home because my heating system runs on natural gas. In the summer, I have to run my air conditioner at times, but given where I live, in Sonoma County wine country, the temperatures are usually pretty moderate, so I don’t run the A/C a lot – but during those hot spells when the thermometer goes to 100 degrees and higher and stays there, as it did last summer for about a week, it sure is nice to cool the house without worrying about breaking the bank.

My pre-solar summertime bills usually skirted $200 when I used the A/C, about $150 when I didn’t and my wintertime bills were pretty consistently in the same ballpark. Since installing solar in June of 2011, the monthly rate for both gas and electricity has risen, so I suspect my bills would be anywhere from $25 – $40 a month higher. As you will see from the bills, that is no longer the case.

The NEM charges of $25.83 noted on the bill that was due this past January represent the total electric charges for the year for power I had pulled from the grid. According to my latest bill (the last in the list), I have no accumulated charges.

Without further ado, here are a year’s worth of my bills with the grand total of $603.20. After not quite five years, my system is has saved me more than half the cost of installation. Still wondering if it’s worth it?

JuneJulyAugustSeptemberOctoberNovemberDecember JanuaryFebruaryMarchAprilMay

Ann Werner is the author of thrillers and other things.

Visit her at Ann Werner on the Web

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Ann Werner

Ann Werner

Ann Werner is a blogger and the author of CRAZY and Dreams and Nightmares. You can view her work at

Visit her on Twitter @MsWerner and Facebook Ann Werner

Ann Werner