connection fee Archives | Shine Solar

Tag: connection fee

 

The Truth About Connection Fees

The Truth About Connection Fees

How do Shine Solar customers get their flat rate?

Here at Shine Solar, education is our number one goal as solar is still so new in the Midwest. This is why we often share what savings some of our clients are receiving so you can learn the truth regarding solar savings. For example, one of our favorite videos is this one, which shows a customer’s utility bill over three months.    
Electricity for Only $15/Month?

Our customer sent us his 3 recent electric bills, and each one was for about $15/month. That's right… after GOING SOLAR, the total amount he pays the electric company every month is only $15! Hundreds of homeowners in Northwest Arkansas and Southwest Missouri have gone solar and are experiencing similar results. I explain it all in this video!

Posted by Shine Solar on Friday, August 11, 2017
    The questions we always get with this video is, “How is their utility bill the same price of $15 for three months in a row? That can’t be the truth.” This $15 charge isn’t from the electricity this customer is using, but is actually the connection fee the utility company charges each month.

What is the connection fee?

The connection fee is the amount your utility company charges each month for you to be connected to their grid. When people install solar panels onto their homes, they often stay connected to their utility company. Their utility company then acts as a backup for their home if they ever use more energy than they are producing. This also allows customers to take advantage of net metering, where you receive credit for any excess energy that you send back into the grid. You can read more about net metering here. Connection Fee Truth   Thanks to net metering, when you receive your electricity bill at the end of the month it is likely that you will only see your connection fee. The current debate regarding the connection fee is that some utility companies are raising their connection fees to make up for the money they are losing from residents going solar. This has been a huge debate in states like California and Arizona. However, since solar is still so new to the Midwest, there hasn’t been too much of this happening here. And it is this very price uncertainty that has led millions of people to choose solar power. The sun continues to provide a free source of energy. Solar panels continue to drop in price (80% since 2008!). And, the best news of all, solar payments don’t randomly increase. Solar payments remain the same price.

Why do we have it?

You may be wondering, “Why do we stay connected to the grid if they will charge us these connection fees?”. Right now, the technology for solar battery backup is not cost-effective. So staying on the grid and paying these connection fees is actually the better and cheaper option right now. But don’t worry, as solar battery technology develops, there will always be the opportunity to go off the grid. Receive a free solar analysis today to learn about your future savings from going solar. 

The Truth About Connection Fees

At Shine Solar, we like to take an educational approach with everything we do.  We do this for two reasons: because we prefer telling the truth, and because solar is still a pretty new concept in the Midwest. People don’t realize how affordable solar energy has become. Most don’t know how much money they can save month to month. And we get that! When you haven’t heard much about solar, it can sound too good to be true. It makes sense to hear about instant savings and react with disbelief. People want proof of savings that large. This is why we regularly post videos showing actual electric bills from our customers, or focusing on the affordability of solar. The response to these videos, though, isn’t always positive. “Stop lying! That’s not true!” is a frequent comment on our Facebook page. But here’s the thing: it does us no good to lie to people at any point in the solar education process. The truth is great enough. Untruths have no place in our company. Case in point: our video displaying three consecutive $15 electric bills, sent in by one of our customers. The reason this customer’s bill is a flat $15 per month is because that is the utility company’s “connection fee.”

The Truth About Connection Fees

Customers who choose to go solar usually remain connected to the utility provider’s grid. To go off-grid entails a battery backup, which is just not cost-effective. Through a process called net metering, the utility companies monitor what you’re producing in addition to what you’re pulling from the grid. Credits are generated at wholesale rates and applied to your account. You can build up credits from your panel production to offset your regular bill.  Regardless of credits, though, your utility company will still continue to charge you a monthly fee to remain tied to the grid. The grid acts as a cost-effective battery backup. The truth is, all utilities don’t charge the same connection fee, because each company has different fixed costs in place based on its expenses. Unfortunately, those connection fees (or price per kWh, or seasonal adjustments, or fuel surcharges) can be increased at any time if the utility’s expenses increase. Co-op customers generally have the highest connection fees, so those customers often see $25 or $30 per month connection fees…or higher. And it is this very price uncertainty that has led millions of people to choose solar power. The sun continues to provide a free source of energy. Solar panels continue to drop in price (80% since 2008!). And, the best news of all, solar payments don’t randomly increase. Solar payments remain the same price.  Once energy storage options become more and more available, separating from the utility grid will make far more sense financially. Why deal with the uncertainty? Call us for a free solar analysis today!