As soon as your solar system gets turned on you form a new relationship with your utility, which for most of us is PG&E. You are now an energy producer, not just an energy consumer, and you will receive monthly Net Metering Statements and an annual True-Up Statement. So what is a Net Metering and what is a True-Up?
Let’s start by going over how the electricity your solar system generates is used. When the sun is up and your solar system is generating electricity, your home is being powered by the sun at that moment. PG&E doesn’t track the power your system is producing that your home uses, which means that they can’t track either the total power your solar system produces or the total energy your home consumes.
What does PG&E track? Whenever your solar is generating more power than you use at that moment, you send the extra energy to the grid, and PG&E gives you credit for the value of the energy. When your home needs more power than your system is producing at that particular moment, you draw on power that PG&E generates through the grid, and PG&E tracks the value of that energy. This allows them to track the “net” energy, aka how much energy your system sends to the grid and how much energy your home draws from the grid.
Every month PG&E sends you a Net Metering Statement. This reports the “net” generation, aka the excess power your solar system sends to the grid and the “net” consumption, the total power your home pulls from the grid. You are not billed for this generation until the end of your True-Up period.
However, if your system produces more energy than your home consumes, you will be billed a minimal monthly charge for being connected to the grid.
At the top of your net metering statement, you will see your “true up” period. This is the 12 month period that PG&E tracks these credits and charges for net production and consumption.
Annual True Up Statement
Once a year at the end of your “true up” period, PG&E sends you a True Up Statement. It shows the overall amount of credits that you earned by sending power to the grid and the charges that you incurred for using power that PG&E generated. This is the way that PG&E settles your account. If you incurred more charges than credits, you will need to pay PG&E for the cost of the power you purchased from them. If you produced more power than you used over the course of the year, you don’t owe PG&E anything more than the minimal amounts you’ve already paid monthly to be connected to the grid.
Need more information? Here is a link to PG&E’s detailed explanation of net metering and the true up statement. If you have questions regarding your statements, please call PG&E’s solar department directly at (877) 743-4112. Wondering how much power your system is actually creating? Check you inverter(s). They track the total amount of power your solar system produces. If you have production monitoring, this is the source of the data that shows up on your monitoring system. Wondering how much power your home is actually using? It’s possible to have consumption monitoring, which tracks the total number of kWhs your home consumes, but it’s not common. If you’d like to set that up, give us a call today at 415.641.4000.