Thinking about adding rooftop solar panels? If you live in Jacksonville and have JEA as your utility company, make sure you understand how their Distributed Generation (DG) Policy works and how it could impact potential savings.
What Is JEA’s Distributed Generation (DG) Policy?
Jacksonville homeowners who add rooftop solar panels and want to remain connected to the energy grid are subject to their Distributed Generation policy. Just like other net metering agreements, this policy allows customers to buy electricity from JEA at night and sell excess energy (kWh) to the grid during the day.
However, the Distributed Generation policy specifically states that they will not buy back excess solar power at the same rate it costs homeowners to use it.
This means that Jacksonville homeowners are less likely to see near-zero electric bills and may not generate enough monthly credits through excess power to see significant savings like those with other utility companies.
Why Buy Back Rates Matter
To understand why net metering buyback rates matter when switching to solar, you first need to understand how JEA bills customers for power.
First, they charge a retail rate of $0.06988 per kilowatt-hour. They then add a Fuel Rate charge equal to $0.03250 and an ‘environmental’ rate charge of $0.000062 per kilowatt-hour. In total, Jacksonville homeowners can expect to spend $0.10300 per kilowatt-hour.
With solar panels, homeowners are able to reduce the need for grid power during the day and help offset these costs. In addition, any excess power generated during the day can be sent to the grid. JEA buys back this excess power at their fuel rate – equal to $0.03250 per kilowatt-hour.
Put another way, one solar energy credit is equivalent to about 31.5% of the cost of a standard kilowatt-hour. This is important because solar panels can’t work at night, and homeowners with net metering use grid power to keep their homes functioning.
Other Florida utility companies have net-metering agreements at a 1-to-1 buyback rate. This means that each energy credit earned during the day offsets the power draw at night, allowing homeowners to see a near-zero energy bill.
With JEA’s Distributed Generation policy, that’s not possible. Homeowners are likely to see some savings on their energy bill because of daytime performance, but it’s nowhere near what other homeowners experience with a 1-to-1 net metering buyback rate.
How To Maximize Solar Savings With JEA
Jacksonville homeowners looking to save on utility costs can take advantage of solar savings even though JEA’s buyback rate is about 70% less than their utility prices. There are two options: (1) homeowners can install smaller systems or (2) utilize solar batteries.
Option 1 – Install A Smaller Home Energy System
Going with a smaller size home energy system is the most cost-effective option for Jacksonville homeowners. We suggest aiming for a 50-60% reduction in energy bills. The goal is to only use what your system generates and avoid sending excess power to the grid. Not only will you pay less to install, but you will also see a net-positive return on investment much faster.
An added benefit of going this route is if JEA’s Distributed Generation changes in the future to offer better buyback rates, you can simply add additional solar panels to increase your savings.
Option 2 – Install Solar Batteries
The other option for Jacksonville homeowners is to store the excess power generated during the day by using solar batteries. This will reduce the need for grid power at night and even keep your home functioning during a blackout. However, solar batteries are expensive, and most homes will need more than one. Overall savings on utility costs with solar panels and batteries could be minimal due to project costs.
Switch To Solar With Help From Local Experts
Knowing what options are available can be extremely helpful when considering home solar panel options. Our local experts can provide detailed home energy audits, roof assessments, and more to give you an overview of your options and estimated project costs. Call (904) 595-6835 or schedule a free solar quote online!