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What makes CutMyBill better than other solar cost and savings calculators for BGE customers?
There are three key reasons that our BGE solar cost and bill savings calculator is far better than any other solar calculator or solar estimate website on the net for BGE customers;
- Firstly, whilst most solar panels calculators are really good at forecasting the electricity production you can get from installing solar panels for your home (because they all rely on the pwatts.nrel.gov solar production data) most of them just use a single generic state wide unit cost for electricity in their calculations. Our BGE solar cost and bill savings calculator actually uses our database of each of the available BGE electric rates plans to use more specific electricity cost data. Therefore we can generate much more accurate solar savings analysis.
- The second reason is that we use DOE (Department of Energy) electricity usage patterns for the BGE service territory, and some very basic questions we ask you about your home to estimate how you use power over the course of a day and the seasons of the year. This allows us to accurately forecast solar savings where time of use electricity plans are available to you. We estimate your electricity usage for each hour of the year and then overlay the known production of solar panels in your area for each hour of the year. Without this level of detail solar panel cost and savings calculators on are inaccurate; and
- Lastly, before we even consider solar savings, we look for any savings that can be achieved simply by swapping to a cheaper available BGE rate plan. Our software looks for any available BGE rates plan that works our cheaper for your estimated usage pattern. Generally speaking savings from swapping to a cheaper BGE rates plan are only available to those who have larger monthly electric bills but given it only takes a phone call to achieve these savings it is by far the quickest and easiest bill cutting option where it is possible.
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Will installing a solar power system or swapping rate plans save me the most on my monthly BGE payment?
There are almost always far greater cost savings to be obtained from installing solar panels than swapping rates plans but this doesn't mean possible savings from swapping rate plans should be ignored. The other reason we search for your cheapest rate plan is that to forecast total possible savings you could get on your bill you need to take into account both savings that may be available from swapping to the cheapest rate plan and also savings that come from swapping your generation source for some of your power usage to your own solar power.
Compare savings from swapping rate plans to solar savingsCalculate
How accurate is the CutMyBill estimate of my power usage pattern?
The CutMyBill electricity usage profile estimator is a key part of the technology of why CutMyBill can forecast solar and bill swapping savings so accurately without requiring you to enter your kilowatt hour electricity usage for each month of the year or to upload 12 months worth of power bills.
The way we do this is we use electricity use profiles collected by the Department of Energy for each building type at each weather station across the BGE service territory. Some of the characteristics of your home such as your average monthly power spend and the square footage of your home are used to refine this analysis.
This gives a fairly accurate estimate but it is not an exact estimate. The best way to get an exact estimate of your solar savings and whether or not there are possible savings from swapping rate plans is to speak to one of your local solar companies. Whilst solar companies are experts in solar they also become experts in knowing the cheapest rate plans (both before and after solar) from their local utility companies.
Estimate my power usage pattern over a day and over the seasons of the yearCalculate
Can I get a lower power bill by swapping to a different BGE rate plan?
The short answer is, yes, you can lower your power bill by swapping rate plans. Although rate plans are designed to give similar cost to customers with average usage patterns.
This means the amount you can save by swapping rate plans is minimal, usually between $0-$10 dollars. Depending on how much power you use and how/when you use it. The more power you use the greater the scope for potential savings. BGE have 3 plans for residential customers (2 if you don't have an electric vehicle). These plans are so similar that most people won't save much money by swapping plans.
However, if you’re serious about lowering your power bill and saving money, you should consider going solar. Solar will typically reduce your power bill way more than changing rate plans. In Maryland, a 7.78 kW solar system (will typically offset 100% a monthly bill of $150) will typically pay for itself in 7 years and 8 months and save more that $50,000 in power savings over the system lifetime (25 years). Installing solar is perhaps the single most effective way to lower your power bills.
Find out how mcuh it costs to install solar panels on your homeCalculate
How much can I lower my power bill through adopting energy efficiency measures?
Energy efficiency can be broken up into two categories; Installing new devices, and how you use the devices you have.
Installing new devices is easy. This can range from installing energy efficient lights to replacing that old fridge. Most people don't realize that a new fridge or washing machine could lower their electricity bill. New appliances are far more efficient than older models and as a result use less power. BGE also offer incentives for installing new energy efficient products.
It can be easy to save dollars off your power bill by; taking shorter showers, hanging clothes out to dry and not using the dryer, setting the washing machine to cold and turning plugs off at the wall. These simple actions can lead to substantial power savings.
What incentives are available from BGE for energy efficiency?
BGE offer a large range of incentives and rebates for energy efficiency. They include:
- Clothes Washers · $75 and $100 rebate
- Electric Clothes Dryers · $50 rebate
- Hybrid Heat Pump Water Heaters · $500 rebate
- Pool Pumps · $150 and $400 rebate
- Refrigerators · $100 rebate
- Dehumidifiers · $30 rebate
- Switching to ENERGY STAR® certified lighting can help you save energy and money. And, with instant discounts up to $7 on select ENERGY STAR® certified LEDs you can save even more!
- Get $250 to $1,500 in rebates on high-efficiency heating and cooling equipment while improving your home’s energy efficiency and comfort. Heating and air conditioning account for up to 50% of the energy you use at home. A properly installed and maintained system can reduce your energy use, improve comfort, and help you save money. If your home has multiple systems, you could save even more!
- More on Heating and cooling.
- Get a $150 rebate on the purchase of an ENERGY STAR® certified two-speed (multi-speed) pool pump. Search for ENERGY STAR certified models here. Only models listed as having a multi-speed motor design are eligible for this rebate.
- Get a $400 rebate on the purchase of an ENERGY STAR certified variable speed pool pump. Search for ENERGY STAR certified models here. Only models listed as having variable speed or variable flow motor designs are eligible for this rebate.
- There are also rebates for recycling old appliances.
How much can you save by swapping your BGE rate planCalculate
Is it worthwhile to install solar panels as a BGE Customer?
A constant theme on this website is that if you have a suitable house, installing solar panels is the single most effective thing you can do to reduce your long term power costs.
Maryland is a great state to install solar. The 30% Federal Tax, $1000 resident clean energy grant, SRECS and net metering all exist making solar very affordable.
If you've read the start of the article you’ll know in Maryland, a 7.78 kW solar system ( will typically offset a monthly bill of $150) will usually pay for itself in 7 years and 8 months and save more that $50,000 in power savings over the system lifetime (25 years).
Solar is a great investment, it is definitely worthwhile to install solar as a BGE customer.
Calculate your likely cost, savings and payback period from installing solar panels given your usageCalculate
What are the limitations of solar?
The biggest limitation that solar faces is it is generally not available to those who rent or live in multifamily buildings.
Photovoltaics (solar panels) are an amazing technology that converts sunlight into electricity. At night, when there is no sunlight, solar produces no power.
Batteries solve the issue of intermittence by storing excess energy during the day and discharging that energy at night or when solar is not producing enough electricity.
Batteries sound good, but at the moment they are expensive. It also turns out BGE customers don't need to install batteries with their solar system because in Maryland “net metering” (link to pg 3) exists. Net metering is essentially a free, unlimited, perfect battery.
Without going into to much detail, when a solar system is producing more electricity than the household is using, it gets directed into the grid. The grid exchanges 1 kWh of exported power for a 1 kWh credit of electricity the household can exchange any time they need it. In this way net metering is like a battery, that economically stores energy in the form of credits.
What is the BGE community solar pilot program?
This is a program for renters and those who cannot install solar on their home. The BGE community solar pilot program allows customers to purchase a subscription to a portion of the energy generated by a Community Solar Energy Generating System (CSEGS).
Once the subscription is purchased and the system is producing energy, the customer will receive a credit on their BGE bill for their subscription share of the CSEGS energy production.
Should I install solar now or wait till the price drops?
Knowing when to buy solar can be tricky. The cost of solar has fallen dramatically and will continue to fall in the future. In a few years solar systems will be much cheaper than they are today. So, you would think that it would be better to install solar later, but in reality now, in 2018 is the best time to install solar.
This is mainly due to the incentives available. The 30% investment tax credit, SRECs, a $1000 rebate and Net Metering all exist in the BGE territory. The 30% investment tax credit will start to reduce to 26% in 2019 and will continue to drop in the following years. Net metering has already started to decline in states like California and most states don’t offer SRECs. The point is, all the incentives won’t last forever, in fact they have already started to reduce and it won't be long until their gone.
Seriously, if you install solar now the state will give you $1000 toward the system cost, the government will pay 30% of the total system cost and you can sell SRECs for about $20 each (meaning more that $100 a year). As and added bonus BGE will let you use the grid as a perfect battery free of charge.
Why is it that so many BGE customers are installing solar panels in 2018?
People are installing solar because they realize it has potential to save them tens of thousands of dollars. Our research indicates solar installed in Maryland has the potential to save $50,000 in power savings over the lifetime of the system (25 years). Use this free calculator to calculate how much going solar could save you.
The incentives available now also make solar a very attractive for homeowners. There are four main incentives that apply to BGE customers.
The 30% federal tax credit has been the backbone of solar incentives for many years now. The 30% federal tax credit gives people a credit against their income tax for 30% of the total system cost. The credit can be used for up to 20 years. After tax time, this essentially makes your solar system 30% cheaper.
The second, Residential Clean Energy Grant Program. This is a grant of $1,000 for eligible systems. Essentially making solar systems $1,000 dollars cheaper.
The third, Solar Renewable Energy Certificates (SRECs). An SREC is a credit for 1 MW of electricity produced, an SREC can then be sold to the Utility. This means a solar system will make you money through the year as you sell your SRECs. Each SREC can be sold for about $20, meaning a 7.78 kW system produces about $200 per year in SRECs.
The fourth, is net metering. Net metering essentially a giant, unlimited, perfect battery. That BGE lets you use for free.
All these incentives make solar much cheaper upfront and over time. These incentives are the reason people in Maryland can save $50,000 over 25 years, without them solar will become much more expensive.
What are BGE Net Metering rates?
BGE offers full 1-1 net metering.
Solar arrays will at times produce more energy than the home can use, depending on time of day and electrical load within the home. When this happens, the excess energy is exported into the grid. Full Net Metering awards a 1 kWh account credit for each 1 kWh exported into the grid. This credit can then be exchanged for 1 kWh of power imported from the grid.
Net Metering effectively allows you to use the grid as a limitless battery for the solar energy generated by your solar system. The excess energy is sent to the battery (the grid) and the battery “charges up” (gains credits for each kWh). The battery can then be discharge (exchange credits for kWhs). Net metering economically “stores” energy for later use. In this way full net metering enables customers to eliminate the variable component of their usage bill.
Are solar panels worth it for BGE residential customers?
Short answer is, yes, absolutely. If Baltimore residents don't install solar while these generous incentives are available, they will be kicking themselves. Seriously, the government and state are offering to pay a substantial amount, for you to install a solar system, and as an added benefit BGE will let you use the grid as a giant, perfect battery.
Think about this for a second. The government want to pay some of your system for you, you will be helping the environment, and over the next year and decades ahead you won't have to fork out any money for electric power.
Once you buy the system it is expected to work for at least 25 years with little to no maintenance. After you install solar you may never have to pay for electricity. Sure, buying the system may be expensive, but that's why the government and state will help you pay for it.
How much power do solar panels installed in the BGE territory produce?
Solar panels in Maryland typically produce 1,150 kWh annually per 1kW of peak DC. In simpler terms, in Maryland solar produces a moderate amount of power compared to some of the sunnier southern states. Solar installed in states like California, Arizona and Florida produce more power than equivalent sized panels installed in Maryland, simply being closer to the equator, more solar energy falls on them for a longer period each year.
However, don't let this discourage you from going solar, beacuse solar panels in Maryland can still produce more than enough to power for your home.
How much does solar panel installation cost in the BGE territory?
The cost of a solar system will vary depending on what components are used and the contractor’s labor costs. The panels, inverter, installation company and the difficulty of the installation all reflect the overall cost of the installation.
According to the figures available to us, a good price for quality components in Maryland is $3.56 per watt. For a system financed by a solar loan, a good price is about $4.06. This means the cash installation price for a 7KW system is $24,920, before incentives. After incentives and rebates received at tax time, the cost will drop significantly to $16,444 after incentives.
The system will then pay for itself in energy savings in about 7 years and 8 months.
How much will solar panels cost for your home?Calculate
Who are the best solar companies that service my local part of the BGE territory?
As the BGE territory covers a number of cities there are different solar companies operating locally in each as well as some that cover the whole territory.
If you are up to the stage of wanting quotes from solar installers you can get a system sized for you house and up to four quotes from installers that service your area for free online by entering your zip code below.
See my solar panel installation cost from your local installers...
How do I get an accurate solar quote that takes into account my home and my power usage?
To get accurate solar quotes you (or your solar company) needs to work out how many solar panels you need on your home. To do this they need to know your power usage patterns. This will allow you to come up with the amount of solar panels you would ideally want to making your power bill zero. This article (link to How can I cut my electric bill as a Long Island customer page) explains ways that you can get hold of your power usage data either for your own analysis or to share with a solar company that you wish to have quote your home.
Once you determine the right amount of solar panels you then need to measure your roof to see how many panels will actually fit on your roof. Most solar companies can measure roof spaces online using tools that are similar to Google Maps (but are more accurate).
The www.solar-estimate.org website is the leading solar marketplace in America and allows you to both do an accurate online estimate of your needs and request quotes from solar companies through one interface.
Find more about Baltimore Gas & Electric Co (BGE) electric rate plans.