a real live Austin electric bill (with solar)

We were as excited as a herd of bonobo monkeys at a Viagra conference this week when our first electric bill with solar arrived in the mail! How did we do?

Looking at the bottom line--the dollars involved--it's easy to see how we did: We reduced our final bill by slightly more than half. Our final bill was $28.22 after being reduced $30.85 due to the solar credit. With all the "reads" (and the lack of paperwork explaining what it all means), it's a little harder to figure out what's going on.

The first thing to note is that the bill refers to two meters because we (ahem) now have two meters: One connected directly to the solar system and the other connected to the city supply.

Solar PV Read is easy enough: That's what we generated from the photovoltaic system.

Whole House Consumption is easy enough as well: That's the total amount of electrical use for the billing period.

Based on adding, subtracting, and comparing, Delivered Read is the amount of electricity delivered to the house via the city.

Received Read is the amount of electricity we generated that went back out onto the grid. In other words, we were generating more electricity than what we were using. This is the electricity the city received from us.

Net Read is the difference between Received Read and Delivered Read and is what the city delivered to us when we're given credit for the extra we gave them. Net Read plus Solar PV Read equals Whole House Consumption.

The way the billing works is that we get billed for the total amount of electricity we used (Whole House Consumption) as if we didn't have a solar system. That means we "benefit" from all the associated fixed charges and up-charges from typical power consumption. However, we then get credited with the Solar Credit. Tier 1 charges (for the first 500 kWh) come in at $0.06575 per kWh (building in the regulatory and power supply adjustment charges). Tier 2 (for use greater than 500 kWh) comes in at $0.1038 per kWh. The Solar Credit clocks in at $0.113 per kWh (not sure what it's tied to, but it seems to be the fully adjusted Tier 2 cost). That's a pretty good deal for us since we're getting paid twice for what we would have gotten charged for 159 kWh. Once we hit the cooling season, it's doubtful we'll continue to see that benefit.

The other interesting thing about the billing this month is that the bill from the city only includes electricity: No water, sewer, or solid waste charges. Did we get a Solar Credit for that (I know: I'm dreaming...)? Did they forget? Or is it coming under separate cover?


  1. Separate bill coming. And you have two account numbers now, and you have to pay each one separately (although online banking makes that pretty easy, but still...two bills, two accounts, to payments).