Not only does going solar benefit the planet, it benefits your wallet too. It will drastically reduce your electric bill, and you can take advantage of some of the best solar tax credits in the country as a New Yorker.
We want to make sure our customers understand the entire solar panel installation process, so that they can get the savings and credit they deserve for switching to clean energy. That’s why we believe it’s important that we let our customers know what to expect, even after the installation. We’re here for you and your new flat roof solar system!
Read on for what you can expect in the weeks and months post solar panel installation.
What happens after your solar panels are installed?
The Brooklyn SolarWorks crew has just left your home after completing your solar installation. You might be thinking: what’s next?
The next step in the solar process is receiving final approval from the various entities that issued permits for the installation. This involves inspections and a meter swap, all of which Brooklyn SolarWorks will schedule and facilitate – all you need to do is grant us access to your home on the scheduled dates.
The Department of Buildings requires that each installation is inspected to ensure compliance with building and electrical codes. In this inspection, a representative will check over your installer’s work to make sure, for example, that the panels were mounted securely and that the electrical wiring was done correctly.
Once your solar panel system is installed, Con Edison will also pay a visit to your home to do a final inspection and swap out your old meter for a net meter. This device enables net metering to take place, ensuring that you receive the proper credit for the amount of energy your system exports to the grid.
Once Con Edison issues a final acceptance letter, your system will be given permission to operate (PTO). This means the system is registered in their billing system and it’s ready to be activated in your home’s electrical system. This is done by turning on the AC disconnect switch or dedicated solar breaker in your electrical panel. We’ll provide instructions or stop by to assist.
How to Read Your Electric Bill from Your Utility Company
Getting your first ConEd bill after your solar panel installation is an exciting moment. It can be a bit confusing though, because ConEdison does a poor job of explaining their billing and recordkeeping system.
Below is an example of what your bill will look like after installing solar panels. The following is a quick breakdown of each section on your new bill and what it all means.
Your Net Meter Summary
This new section lists ConEd’s record of how much energy you’ve bought from them. It also tells you how many credits (if any) you have stored up through their net metering program.
Your Electricity Usage
If your house required more electricity than your solar array produced in a month, the value will be positive. This is because you bought some extra from the grid to make up the difference.
If your system produced more energy than you needed in a month, the value will be negative because you gave away your excess to the grid.
In other words, this first column should read ‘Your Grid Electricity Use.’ It indicates how much energy from the grid your home used that month.
How to Read Your Net Meter Summary
Cumulative Net Meter Energy Credit
The negative value from the previous column gets stored in this column. ‘Cumulative Net Meter Energy Credit’ is your “bank” of stored up solar credits.
If your grid use in the first column is negative in a given month, that amount will get added to the previous month’s banked amount.
If your grid use is positive, that amount will be withdrawn from your credit bank if you have any.
If your credit bank hits zero, ConEd will charge you for any remaining amount of power. The last column lists this amount as ‘kWh Billed.’
Note: If you get an unusual bill, it’s good to check the reading type. If the most recent reading says ‘Estimated’, ConEd didn’t take a true reading this month. Your bill may be much different than what really happened. They often incorrectly estimate that recently installed systems are not active. In this case, they will take a true reading within a month or two and correct for any overcharges.
Understanding Your Energy Consumption
You may need to do some math in order to get the full picture of your home’s energy consumption. One confusing factor here is that ConEd cannot see how much power your solar system generates. All they can see is how much power you take from or give to the grid.
We’ve created the chart below to show how adding your Sunny Portal production data to your ‘Net Meter Summary’ can give the complete picture of your home’s energy consumption.
For example, if your solar system produced 598 kWh between September 10th and October 9th, but 411 kWh were sent back to the grid, that means your home consumed 187 kWh in that period.
Similarly, if your system produced 498 kWh between February 11th and March 12th, and an additional 157 were brought in from the grid, that means your home consumed a total of 655 kWh.
Keep this in mind if you need to figure out your home’s true electric consumption for any reason, or if you’re interested in determining your true solar offset percentage for a given month or year (Solar Production divided by Actual Home Usage).
If you have trouble finding your solar production numbers, please let us know and we can direct you to them. Also, feel free to reach out if you believe there are issues with your solar system’s performance.
If you believe there is a problem with your billing, contact ConEd’s Net Metering division at email@example.com or 212-780-6600. Remember, they cannot see how much energy your system has produced.
Claiming Your Solar Tax Credits
The final step in the solar process is an exciting one: collecting your tax credits! When tax season arrives, there are a few different tax credits your system may be eligible for. We can provide some basic information and resources on these credits, but because we are not financial professionals, be sure to look to an accountant or tax expert for guidance on filing.
For filing purposes, your installation date and signed contract are available in your customer portal.
You May Be Eligible for These Solar Tax Credits:
The Federal Solar Income Tax Credit: an income tax credit worth up to 26% of your installation costs. As of March 2022, this credit is set to drop to 22% in 2023 and disappear in 2024.
The New York State Solar Income Tax Credit: a state income tax credit worth up to $5,000.
The NYC Property Tax Abatement: allows NYC homeowners to claim 20% of solar energy system costs as a property tax abatement over a 4 year period.
When your solar PV system is installed, the solar system’s inverter will be connected to your home’s WiFi. This connection enables your new solar panels’ production data to be collected in your Sunny Portal. This allows you to track your system’s energy production and determine your offset, if you feel so inclined.
Connecting your system to WiFi also allows us, your solar installer, to monitor your system remotely. As part of our insurance package, we provide all of our customers with 24/7 real-time monitoring in the event that there are any issues with your system at any point in the future.
Enjoy the Many Benefits of Your New Solar System
The use of solar energy is important for a number of reasons, and it’s an exciting moment to finally have your rooftop solar system installed. Once your system is installed, you have access to clean energy produced right in your own home.
Because switching to solar power is such a meaningful decision, it’s important to us that all of our customers fully understand the solar panel installation process, from contract signing through post solar panel installation.
Ready to make the switch to solar for your NYC home? Trust an expert. Talk with us today!
In 2015, Brooklyn SolarWorks landed in Gowanus with a mission to bring affordable flat roof solar to local homeowners. We’ve overcome barriers to develop industry-leading approaches to permitting, design, and…