About Commercial Solar Buyback Program
Does Green Mountain buy back energy that solar panels deliver back to the grid?
Yes. With Green Mountain’s Solar Buyback Program, you can maximize your return on investment in distributed generation, such as a solar energy system, by receiving credit for any excess energy your system delivers to the grid. The Solar Buyback Program is available only for Texas commercial customers that meet the plan requirements. Your buyback credits will show up on the second page of your bill on the “Renewable Buyback Credit” line.
What is excess energy?
When your solar panels produce electricity, that energy is first used to power your business. If your panels produce more energy than you need, the remaining energy is delivered to the grid. This is the excess energy that you will be credited for on the buyback program.
How is the excess energy credit calculated?
The Renewable Buyback Credit is calculated monthly using the same energy charge per kWh that you pay for usage from the grid (excluding pass-through charges such as TDU surcharges). This rate is multiplied by the excess energy your system delivers to the grid up to your usage in a given month. This is shown in the formula below:
The credit is exclusive of any applicable taxes, fees, and other charges (such as late fees, special meter reading fees, and fees related to the disconnection or connection of service).
What contract term lengths are available?
The Green Mountain sales team will work with you to determine a contract term length that fits your business. Call us at 469-277-4128 to discuss buyback plans for your business.
Are there any caps or limits on excess energy credits?
Yes. The Solar Buyback Program caps the excess energy you receive credit for at the total usage for all meters on your account for a given billing period. For example, if your total energy usage in a billing period is 3,000 kWh and you deliver 3,500 kWh of excess energy to the grid during this period, then you receive buy back credits for 3,000 kWh for the period. Any additional credits will not carry over from one month to the next.
Can I apply my excess solar energy from one site to the usage of multiple locations?
Yes. The Solar Buyback Program will apply your buyback credits from one meter to the usage of other meters on your account, as long as your excess energy does not exceed the total usage of all the meters on your account.
Can I include multiple solar installations on one buy back plan?
Yes. Green Mountain can support multiple solar installations under one account. You will receive bill credits for excess energy from all of the solar installations on your account, as long as the excess energy does not exceed the total usage of all meters on your account.
What is a recommended offset percent for the Green Mountain buyback?
The buy back plan works best for solar systems that offset 60% or less of your total usage before solar. If you have a larger system, contact us at 469-277-4128 to discuss a buy back plan for your business.
Existing customers and billing
Why am I not receiving credits for excess energy produced by my solar array?
There are a few steps to take if you are not receiving excess energy credits:
- Wait for 3 billing cycles after enrolling on the Solar Buyback Program.
- If the issue persists, contact your solar installer to confirm your solar array has passed inspection, you have received Permission To Operate from your utility, and you have a signed Interconnection Agreement with your utility.
- If it has been more than 3 billing periods and your solar installer has completed the steps above, then call us at 469-277-4128 to ask about your Renewable Buyback Credit.
Do my buyback credits transfer if I switch plans?
No. The buyback credits are only applicable to the Solar Buyback Program.
Why does my Renewable Buyback Credit amount change from month to month?
Both your energy usage and solar production vary each month because of factors including:
- Variable weather conditions – solar production is typically higher in the spring and summer
- Changing usage patterns – usage is typically higher in the summer
- Potential equipment malfunctions – your system may experience a malfunction, which you should work with your solar installer to resolve
What is the difference between my solar production and the excess energy that I receive credit for?
There are a few different terms that describe energy your solar array produces and energy your business consumes, including:
- Solar production—the total electricity produced by your panels
- Solar consumption—the solar energy used to power your business
- Excess energy—any leftover solar energy delivered to the grid
- Grid usage—energy pulled from the grid when your panels do not produce enough electricity to cover your needs
Why does my solar monitoring sensor not match the excess energy on my bill?
Your buyback bill shows:
- Your energy usage from the grid, or the in-flow of electricity through your meter. This is shown on the “Energy Charge” line.
- Excess solar energy delivered to the grid, or the out-flow of electricity through your meter. This is shown on the “Renewable Buyback Credit” line.
Both your grid usage and your excess energy are measured by the meter installed by your utility. The bill does not show your total solar production, which may be measured by your solar monitor. This is because some of the solar power is immediately used by your business and never flows to the grid. Green Mountain does not receive data on your total solar production.
How do I calculate my on-site solar consumption?
Green Mountain is not able to tell what your on-site solar consumption is, but you can calculate it yourself. To calculate solar consumption, you will need the following information:
- Grid Usage in kWh on the “Energy Charge” line of your bill.
- Excess Energy in kWh on the “Renewable Buyback Credit” line of your bill.
- Solar Production in kWh from your monitoring system. The production should be for the date range that your Green Mountain bill covers, which can be found on the second page of your bill as shown in the example below.
To calculate your on-site solar consumption for the billing period, use the formula:
Solar Production - Excess Energy = Solar Consumption
You can also calculate your business’s total energy usage from both the grid and your solar panels by using this formula:
Grid Usage + Solar Consumption = Total Energy Consumption
Who do I contact about interconnection to the grid and two-way metering?
Contact your utility using the contact information below to learn more about interconnection to the grid and two-way metering.
Contact page: https://www.centerpointenergy.com/en-us/business/customer-service/contact-us
Texas New Mexico Power
Contact page: http://www.tnmp.com/contact/general.htm
AEP Central and AEP North
Contact page: https://www.aeptexas.com/contact/
If I still have questions, who can I talk to?
If you have questions about your electricity bill or plan, call Green Mountain at 469-277-4128.
If you have questions about your solar panels or you don’t think your system is producing as much power as it should, contact your installer.
Who can sign up for the Solar Buyback Program? What technologies are supported?
The Solar Buyback Program is available to new and existing commercial customers in Texas that have installed distributed solar energy systems. Call us at 469-277-4128 to discuss potential buyback options.
What are the requirements to enroll in the Solar Buyback Program?
You should confirm the following requirements are met with your utility and solar installer before enrolling in the Solar Buyback Program:
- Have a distributed solar energy system with a capacity of less than 50 kW.
- Have an Interconnection Agreement in place with your utility/TDSP.
- Have a meter installed by your utility that separately measures the in-flow and out-flow of electricity to and from your business.
Do I need a special meter?
Yes. You’ll need a meter installed by your utility that separately measures the in-flow and out-flow of electricity to and from your business. Your utility may charge for this meter, and these charges would be passed through to you on your Green Mountain bill.
Can current Green Mountain customers enroll in the Solar Buyback Program?
Give us a call at 469-277-4128 to discuss potential options for your current contract.
Signing up for Solar Buyback Program
How do I sign up for the Solar Buyback Program?
Call us at 469-277-4128 to sign up for the Solar Buyback Program.
When should I enroll in the Solar Buyback Program?
You can enroll at any time, but we recommend setting your enrollment date to be the same day you expect to receive Permission to Operate (PTO) from your utility. This will help ensure that you receive credit for your excess solar energy as soon as possible.
How long does it take after I enroll in the Solar Buyback Program to start receiving excess energy credits?
It can take 3 billing cycles after you receive PTO and are signed up on the Solar Buyback Program before excess energy credits appear on your bill. Both Green Mountain and your utility must make system changes to process your excess energy readings, and these changes take time to complete.