Net Zero & The Importance of Solar Panel System Size

What is Net Zero? 

Net Zero means your energy consumption is less than the energy you produce. That means you aren’t pulling any electricity from your utility company that your solar system didn’t produce.

Why is “net zero” so important in solar energy system design? California utility companies implemented rate plans for solar customers that aren’t favorable. It’s called a Time-Of-Use (TOU) rate plan, and it is designed to safeguard the utility company as more and more people go solar.

There are so many benefits to going solar, from eliminating your electric bill to locking in long-term fixed utility costs to protect yourself from electric rate increases (especially with NEM 3 coming later this year). Not to mention the 30% savings you can get from tax credits and the environmental impact you make by going green. 

It is clear to us that the financial benefits of switching to solar have the greatest impact on the consumer, and we strive to ensure every customer we work with gets the most value out of their system. We put the interests of our customers first. For every system we design, we aim for Net-Zero.

Time of Use Rate Plans

Below is a graphic of Southern California Edison’s Time-of-Use 4-9 Rate Plan for weekdays.

TOU time of use southern california edison Rates 2022 net zero utility bill

From 8 am to 4 pm, and 9 pm to 8 am, any energy you pull from the grid is at 30¢ per kWh (kilowatt-hour). But from 4 pm to 9 pm it is almost 50¢! Your solar panels will produce the most energy while the sun is up, but many people with jobs find themselves using the most energy just after sunlight hours.

If your panels aren’t producing enough energy to offset that peak time usage (no optimization to net zero), you will end up with a bill where you are paying more per kWh for electricity from Edison than before.

This is why it is so important to get your solar panel system sizes properly to achieve net-zero, taking into account the amount of energy you use and, more importantly, when you use it to avoid peak pricing.

The proper solar design will show you the best offset of energy production and also give you a brief idea about how many solar panels will be the best setup for your home. The actual solar energy produced from the solar panel will be varied because of factors of weather, quality, and material.

solar ground mount solar edge inverter | net metering | net zero

Importance of Sizing Correctly to Achieve Net Zero

Your solar installers must get your system designed correctly, or it can actually make things worse. You don’t want a solar system payment if you still have an electric bill.

Solar companies need homeowners' energy bills to determine the actual energy usage during different months and calculate the proper solar system size.

Suppose your solar company isn't analyzing your hourly electrical usage for 12 months. In that case, they will make your bills worse. Failing to analyze these key points can lead to a system that underproduces, especially during expensive peak usage hours.

Many people think peak utility hours would be during the hot sunshine hours, but as family dynamics have changed, so has a peak usage time of use.

With everyone working, going to school, and doing sports, the peak times have shifted from 4 pm to 9 pm, and these are the hours when everyone comes home and turns on the AC, lights, cooking, laundry, etc. Peak demand hours.

Power companies use this to capitalize on solar users because solar doesn’t produce energy at night. Solar owners with Southern California Edison are now automatically switched to a TOU or “Time of Use” plan instead of staying on the usual price per kWh.

For this reason, you need professionals like Option One Solar, which utilizes a more accurate process of obtaining hourly kW usage for the past year when designing your system so you will save money. 

Most solar companies, or installers, will try to close the deal quickly by only taking your average utility bill and sizing your solar energy system based on that information.

  • This practice doesn't take into account your TOU and, in most cases, will have a negative financial outcome leaving you with two bills.
  • This also leaves you no room for growth in your home, for additions like heated pools or electric vehicle chargers.

How Option One Solar Designs Your Solar Energy System

Solar Installation net zero solar panel system

  • We provide a free energy assessment as part of your quote, and using Google Project Sunroof technology,
  • We discuss your current situation and goals and gather your energy usage “interval data” using cutting-edge software.
  • This data tells us how many kWh you use and the time of day that you use it for 12 months.
  • Your privacy is important to us, and with Option One Solar, your login information is never shared.

Read More:

Solutions to Avoid The TOU Rates Peak Time Rates

30% Solar Tax Credit Is Back! – Inflation Reduction Act

Best Solar Panels In 2022 – Top 5 Manufacturers

Understanding the maximum potential of solar financial benefits

Based on a $150 energy bill (approximation based on averages). Solar will save you $1,800 a year in extra income just by using simple math.

Now, multiply that by your solar system's guaranteed lifespan of 25 years, and add a 6% inflation rate based on the average utility company, and you have $105,150 in just avoided electric bills.

That's a significant amount of savings for investments, savings, vacations, college funds, or just to get some financial breathing room for your family. 

Not to mention the additional equity for your home solar has given you provides opportunities for remodeling or additions that will continue to improve your home's value. Also, we haven’t even touched on the solar tax incentives either.

Option One Solar makes this a reality for our customers every single day by net-zero your utility bill and making it possible to eliminate it.

Ready to Get Started?

Simply fill out the quote form to the right or give us a call at (760) 646-8444. Rest assured, the Option One Solar professionals have completed this process many times and get it done quickly and skillfully.

Our solar energy experts are committed to designing systems that genuinely meet their customers' needs and result in the best return on investment and ROI. 



Stop Energy Bills

Our solar experts can analyze your energy usage and design a system specific to your needs. Contact us to learn how much you can save.

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