At Positive Energy Solar, we take pride in having a dedicated service department that is on hand to answer any questions you may have before going solar or after your system is installed. Our team is here to help no matter where you are in your solar journey. In this blog, we’re answering some of the most common questions that our service team receives.
1.It's been a few months since getting my solar installed, why am I still getting a PNM bill?
One of the benefits of grid-tied solar is that it allows for a mechanism called net-metering, in which you don’t need to produce all of your energy from solar in the month you use it—rather, you can get credit for the excess solar energy you export to the grid and utilize these credits at times when solar isn’t producing as much (like Winter) or at all (during the night).
If you are still receiving some utility energy charges, this is usually dependent on when your solar becomes operational. For example, if you tend to use more energy in the Winter (e.g. electric heating) this just so happens to be the time that solar production is at its lowest and so you likely will not be generating enough solar energy to offset your winter usage and you may still have a small utility bill for the difference in energy you are still consuming. You also may not yet have had the benefit of extra solar energy generation from the Summer which gets credited and banked for later. The good news is that after a year of solar operation, you should be netting enough solar production in those Summer months to offset the next Winter usage.
2. Why do I have to pay $8.xx?
Depending on where you live, you may find that you still have to pay your utility company a minimal fee ranging from $8-$15 even after your solar system covers all of your energy needs. This is simply a monthly connection charge from the utility that is required in order to utilize the net-metering benefits you get from being connected to the grid.
3. How much energy do I have banked up?
On your PNM bill, there is a line item on the second/back page labeled: Your Current Renewable Energy Credit, which tells you your solar production for that month. If you have banked up credits it will show as Renewable Credit on a line above that.
4. How do I know my solar is working right?
Some monitoring platforms will show energy production from individual solar panels which makes spotting a production issue more intuitive. One can also compare the total kilowatt-hour production data from their monitoring system or utility bill with their expected production from the original design documentation received during the installation process. Depending on the age and type of the system, a red error light on the monitoring equipment or the inverter is often indicative of a fault.
5. Is my solar system producing the right amount of energy?
If Positive Energy Solar installed your system, we did an in-depth evaluation of the system's expected production each month or a year, taking into consideration shading, azimuth, degradation and other unique factors to your solar panel placement and production. That data, included in your original proposal, is a good baseline reference to compare actual solar production to.
6. How come some of my solar panels do not produce as much energy as others?
Small variations in panel production are to be expected. The varying angles of the sun's energy hitting the panels will produce different amounts of power in each panel. If one or two panels are producing noticeably less than others, it may be shading that occurs just during certain hours. Sometimes this can be figured out by careful study of the online monitoring data. If panels have no production then you should contact your installer.
7. Do you monitor my equipment and can you notify me when there is a malfunction?
Positive Energy has thousands of installations with a wide variety of monitoring equipment and does not actively monitor individual sites. During the first few months after installation, we encourage our clients to regularly check their system performance by closely looking at their utility bill and/or monitoring app as well as enabling any available email notifications from their respective monitoring provider in order to let our support team know of any alerts or production issues. After a while, you’ll find things are reliable & working as expected–regular ongoing monitoring isn’t as necessary.
8. How do I reconnect my solar monitoring system to WiFi?
This depends on your monitoring system (Enphase or SolarEdge). Enphase has a great step-by-step guide available on their website. SolarEdge has video instructions as well. Of course, you will want to make sure that your monitoring system is either equipped with a wifi receiver or has a direct LAN cable to your router. While we like to empower our clients with self-serve options, our team is available to do any troubleshooting that may arise.
9. What is consumption monitoring, do I need it, and how can I add this feature if available?
Solar consumption monitoring refers to the process of tracking how much energy you are consuming in comparison to what your solar energy system is generating. This can help solar stewards understand how much energy being produced by their system is being utilized rather than exported to the utility grid. With consumption monitoring, you can see how much of your energy needs are being met by your solar energy system as well as identify patterns in your energy usage. With the insights gained from consumption monitoring, you can implement changes to improve the efficiency of your solar usage which might involve decisions about when to use certain appliances or possibly considering more energy-efficient appliances. Consumption monitoring is not required but is an additional feature for those curious about their energy usage. It is best to discuss this option with your Sales Advisor to best plan accordingly prior to installing a system. Consumption installation feasibility depends on their electrical service and if there is a suitable space for the necessary current transformers to fit inside the main panel.
Do you have a question for our Service team? Give us a call at 505.344.0071 and choose Option 2 to leave us a message. Please note, it may take up to 48 hours to receive a response due to the high demand for service.