Every month, solar power is generated by the project connected to your solar subscription. The amount of solar energy produced directly results in discounts to your monthly electricity bill. This document explains how community solar interacts with your bill.
Before We Begin
To better understand your bill, it helps to understand how electricity consumption is measured and the charges based on that consumption.
- How Electricity Consumption is Measured
Every time you turn on a light bulb or plug in a device in your home, you are consuming electricity. The rate of power a device uses when it is turned on (or plugged in) is measured in watts(W) or kilowatts(kW). 1000 W = 1 kW. The rate of power a device consumes over time is measured in kilowatt-hours (kWh).
- How Your Bill Relates to Electricity Consumption
Your utility bill depends on a number of factors, including your electricity rate plan (examples include time of use (TOU) rate, fixed rate, or tiered rate), along with fees, taxes, and adjustments specific to your utility company and geographical location. The simplest way to calculate your monthly utility bill is to understand that the charges and fees you pay are largely based on the electricity you consume in a given month (kWh) multiplied by a per-kWh($/kWh) rate determined by your utility company.
Your Utility Bill + Community Solar
The following section will help you understand your bill as it exists now and changes that will be added once you sign up for community solar. Use the sample bill provided by your utility company to help follow along.
Sections of Utility Bill
- Normal utility bill charges
These costs are based on your electricity consumption, taxes, fees, and adjustments—not solar energy production! After signing up for community solar, you will continue to be billed for the amount of electricity you consume every month per its normal schedule.
- Bill Credits
These are monthly discounts that accrue based on the amount of solar energy (kWh) produced through your solar subscription. Bill credits are applied according to a per-kWh rate ($/kWh) determined by your utility company. Rates can be found in the table below.
Portland General Electric
Bill Credit Rate (per kWh)
Maximum Subscription Fee Rate (per kWh)
- Subscription Fees
Monthly fees that accrue based on the amount of solar energy (kWh) produced through your solar subscription. Subscription fees are applied according to a per-kWh rate ($/kwh) determined by your Project Manager but are always lower than your bill credit rate. (Some projects offer greater discounts. Special circumstances apply for projects involving subsidized housing participants.)
In general, subscription fees are calculated at 80% of your bill credit rate. The 20% difference between bill credits and subscription fees accounts for your monthly discount! Rates can be found in the table above.
- Total Utility Bill
Your total electricity bill is calculated by subtracting your solar discounts from your electricity costs and fees. Here is an example:
Total Annual Discounts
Most participants of the Oregon Community Solar Program can expect to save between 10-15% on their electricity bills every year. Your annual discount in dollars will depend on the size of your subscription and your utility. To learn more about how this works, please refer to our solar savings document.