Are the savings on your projects coming out unexpectedly low? Here are a few settings you can check:
1. Discount Rate
If your customer is paying cash for their PV system, then the higher Discount Rate you are using, the lower the Lifetime Savings value in Sales Mode. Going to the financing settings page and changing this to a lower value will likely increase the Lifetime Savings number in Sales Mode.
Note: If you change this setting, the change will apply only to future projects. To update past projects, Duplicate an existing project.
2. Other Financing settings
Settings like Degradation, Inverter Placement Cost, and Inverter Life all impact your savings, as well. Panels degradation varies per manufacturer, but usually isn't more than 0.50% per year. Inverter replacement costs can vary from $0.20 to $0.40 per watt or more, but you can enter $0 if the inverter is under a full lifetime warranty.
These inputs can all be configured from the Settings page in Aurora.
3. Double check the selected Utility Rate
The more your electric utility charges you, the more money you can save by going solar. Make sure you have selected the right utility rate for your project, or your savings calculations will be incorrect. Utility rates can be updated from both the Project Overview page or in Sales Mode.
4. Check your Utility Bill Savings settings
In Design Mode, click the area in the top right which shows the Size, Production, and Savings of your design. Then click Utility Bill Savings. Here, you can adjust settings such as Export Rate and True-Up Period which can have a significant impact on your projected savings
5. Check the irradiance on your panels
What about the Grid Use charge?
In the pre- and post-solar comparison calculators for Sales Mode, you will see a Grid Use charge. The Grid Use is the annual bill divided by 12, for an average payment over 12 months. It is common to see a remaining post-solar Grid Use charge, even if the Energy Offset is over 100%.
If the post-solar Grid Use is higher than you expect, there are a few settings to take a look at:
- True-Up Period
- Bill Frequency
- Export Rate
- Utility Rate
You can take a closer look in Design Mode. Open the design in Design Mode, then click the area in the top right which shows the Size, Production, and Savings of your design.
Then click Utility Bill Savings.
Here you can see a graph showing the post-solar Grid Use bills for this design. In this example design, the energy offset is 100%, but there are still residual bills in the months of January and February.
This is due to the configuration of settings down below the chart.
Here, the true-up period is set in December, causing bills every January and February. Having the true-up period in December means those credits expire at the end of the year and will not be applied to the following January, when energy consumption is likely to be in excess of the energy production. The true-up period is determined by the rules of your local utility.
Related article: Billing Frequency and True-Up Period
Also, the export rate is set at a reduction. Utilities set the rate at which you are compensated for excess solar power through net metering. An unfavorable export rate will cause significant post-solar Grid Use charges in your proposal.
Finally, the post-solar utility rate is a Time-of-Use rate. If utility rates are cheaper during daylight hours and more expensive in the evening, results in an unfavorable Net Metering exchange that will leave residual Grid Use charges.
Consider these settings when understanding the residual post-solar Grid Use fees, and take care to configure settings carefully per local utility rules to accurately reflect post-solar bills.
Related article: Utility Bill Savings