“True-Up” Statements: All You Need To Know

New solar owners may find the True-Up Statement confusing. This page answers new solar users’ queries.

Solar homeowners’ utility bills will alter. You’ll still get a monthly statement from your utility, but you won’t be paid for power until the anniversary of when they turned on your solar system. The utility sends a “True Up” Statement then. True up solar bill includes annual utility bill and net power consumption.

Net-Metering Background

All utility customers have a meter that measures how much electricity they use and when so they may be billed. Solar users create their power when the sun shines, send any excess to the grid, and buy electricity from the utility when it’s not. When the sun isn’t shining, you pay the utility for grid electricity, less the solar energy you give back to the grid. That’s “net metering.”

When It’s Sunny…

  • During peak sun months, your solar panels may produce more electricity than you need. Your surplus energy will be routed back to the grid and “banked” for later consumption.
  • Your credit is the same rate the utility sold your additional energy to neighbors (retail rate), less a few cents for utility initiatives.
  • Negative “net” energy use.

When It’s Cloudy, What Happens?

  • You likely use grid electricity during poor solar output months and when the sun isn’t shining.
  • Any “banked” energy credits will be applied.
  • You’ll utilize “net” energy.

Monthly Electric Bill

Monthly grid use and connection expenses are inevitable. Monthly statements also indicate net energy use. It’s a charge or credit. Charges and credits are carried until True-Up.

True-Up Statement

The utility sends solar users a True-Up statement on the system’s anniversary. True-Up reconciles all 12-month energy charges, credits, and compensation.

  • Any remaining debt after reconciling credits and charges appears on the True-Up statement.
  • If your system produced more energy than you spent throughout the 12-month billing cycle, you will receive a little credit on your True-Up account for any remaining energy, your “bank” is cashed out, and the yearly cycle starts anew.
  • The “True-Up rate” is lower than the rate you receive for shared solar energy. In 2016, utilities campaigned to cut True-Up. Now they want to cut your surplus energy cost for the remainder of the year, and we’re fighting back.

Set aside monthly dollars for your True-Up bill.

Set aside part of your solar money for a True-Up. This prevents unexpected bills.

True-Up Bill Data

  • Solar system’s annual output (measured in kilowatt-hours, or kWh).
  • How much grid-purchased power was covered by net metering credits?
  • The rate used to value the credit.
  • Solar energy credits remaining and owing to you.
  • Total utility bill.

How Do Monthly And True-Up Bills Differ?

After installing solar and knowing they’ll have an annual True-Up charge, many wonder why they still receive a monthly energy bill. Utility bills include minimum monthly delivery fees. The monthly statement shows current and year-to-date costs and credits for the yearly True-Up.

True-Up Education

Understanding the monthly and yearly differences between a normal bill and a solar bill is vital. If you have issues with your bill, contact your local solar installer for help so you can trust the utility’s papers.

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