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We finally went live with our solar panels on August 1st, 2015! We were so excited about this change and couldn’t wait to see our first bill.

Information on installing the panels:

  • Yes, it really was free of charge. We didn’t pay solar city 1 cent to install the panels.
  • We are not renting the panels; solar city owns them.
  • We simply pay for all of the energy that we generate on the panels.
  • The one risk of installing the panels: If we sell our house, we have to convince the new buyers to keep the panels and transfer the contract into their name. If they refused for some reason (which we don’t anticipate happening because of the cost benefits we would be able to show them), we would have to pay $500 to remove the panels, and another $500 to install the panels at our new house. If solar city doesn’t operate at our new location – that’s when we’d have an issue. We think the benefit outweighs the risk for us.

How it works:

  • We pay for all energy generated on the panels (at a lower rate than our utility company).
  • If we don’t use all of the energy, our utility company is required by state law to purchase the extra energy from us. We would then have a credit with our utility company.
  • If we used more energy than what we generated with our panels, we would pay our utility company at the normal rate for the extra used.

Our bills prior to going solar:
Our bill from the utility company in July was $148.21. We used 961 kWh.
Our bill from the utility company in August was $125.65. We used 835 kWh.

Our first bill after going solar:
We generated 513 kWh on our panels for this billing period. (For the 1st 22 days, half of the roof was not turned on, so this would have almost been double had they caught the mistake earlier).
We used more energy than that, however.

So, we pay money to solar city for what we generated:
Our bill from Solar City in September was $65.79. We generated 513 kWh.

And we also pay our utility company for the extra kWh usage:
Our bill from the utility company in September was $9.10. We used an extra 73 kWh.


  • We used less energy this month. This is partially due to the weather, and partially due to the fact that we are much more aware of our energy usage now.
    • The solar city app allows us to track the energy we use and generate LIVE down to the second. It is absolutely amazing.


Live shot of what we are generating vs using.
If I turn the washing machine on, I literally
see a spike on the graph instantly!
Having access to this has made us
much more aware of our usage.
A look at how the day is going.
I know that the jump in our usage
was due to starting the laundry.
A look at how the month is going.
A full look at the month of August.
You can clearly see when they turned
on the second half of the panels
on the 22nd!


  • We saved money!
    • If I look at our trends with our utility company, our bill for September would have most likely been around $100. Instead we paid about $75. As mentioned above, we would have generated even more energy had all of the panels been turned on, and our utility company would have ended up providing us with a credit for energy that they had to purchase from us.

As we move into winter, we will generate less and less energy on the panels. We will still be generating small amounts, however, and saving small amounts of money as a result. We look forward to seeing what next spring and summer holds and hope to build up some nice credit with the utility company for next winter!

I can’t say enough good things about going solar. This program really is pretty risk free, and we really didn’t pay anything out of pocket. I was skeptical at first because it seemed too good to be true. I met with solar city twice just to make sure. They have been great to work with and my husband and I are very happy we decided to go solar.



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