Updated 1 month ago

How PPL Electric Utilities customers can save money with solar

Written by Ben Zientara , Edited by Catherine Lane

How PPL Electric Utilities customers can save money with solar

PPL Electric Utilities Serves about 750,000 residential customers in eastern Pennsylvania. If you’re one of them, you likely know a few things:

  • Electricity is expensive

  • It’s not getting any cheaper

  • You’re not using any less of it

In fact, you’re probably using more than ever, and with EVs and electrification soon to be big business in America, you should probably be looking for a way to save money on all that electricity.

Enter solar panels. You’ve probably seen them popping up on rooftops all around and wondered whether those people are really happy with their choice… and maybe whether you could be, too. We’re here to tell you that you probably can! As long as you’ve got an un-shaded roof on a house you own, there’s a good chance you can get solar panels and save money.

So how do you do that? Read on to find out.

See how much you can on your electric bill with solar panels

Key takeaways

  • The average PPL customer pays $185 per month for electricity.

  • With net metering, solar panels can wipe out nearly all those bills over the course of the year.

  • You probably can’t net meter if you purchase energy through an Electric Generation Supplier other than PPL, so talk to a solar installer about your options.

  • Available incentives can reduce the cost of the system, allowing homeowners to pay off the cost in 13 years and save thousands over the long term.

Average PPL electric bill

According to Genability, homeowners in PPL territory use about 1,100 kilowatt-hours (kWh) of electricity per month, at an average of $0.153/kWh. That means the average homeowner is paying about $185 a month when you include the $16 customer charge.

If you add solar panels to your roof, you can knock down most of that and pay just the minimum monthly bill.

Can you sell electricity to the grid in Pennsylvania?

Yes you can. Pennsylvania net metering rules require investor-owned utilities like PPL to offer net metering for home solar systems. That means all the energy your solar panels generate goes toward reducing your bill, even if you produce more than you use in a month.

It works because PPL will install a 2-way meter that records the kilowatt-hours (kWh) your solar panels send to the grid and the kWh you pull from the grid at night. In a month where your system produces more than you use, you’ll get a kWh credit that can be applied to the next monthly bill.

These credits roll over from month to month, so you can install a solar system designed to meet your full year’s usage, and apply the excess credit from the summer months to the electricity you need when it’s cold and snowy outside. If you have any leftover credits at the end of the April billing cycle, PPL will pay you for each kWh at its “price to compare,” which changes every six months, and has ranged from about 7.5 to 12.4 cents per kWh in the past 5 years.

The ability to sell your solar electricity to the grid comes via Pennsylvania’s Alternative Energy Portfolio Standards Act (AEPS) of 2014, which requires major utilities in the state to offer the net metering program. That’s just major utilities, though, so if you use PA Power Switch to shop for electricity from an electric generation supplier (EGS), you might not be able to get net metering. You can check with your EGS or a solar installer to figure out how to get on the right rate plan to earn net metering credits.

Available solar incentives

All Pennsylvania homeowners are eligible for the federal clean energy tax credit, which offers 30% of the costs to install solar back to people who purchase solar panels. The amount of tax credit you can get in a year is limited by the amount of taxes you owe, but if you get payroll deductions like most Americans, you can get those back, and you can carry over any additional amount to future years. Check with a tax expert to confirm your tax liability.

Cost of solar for PPL customers

If your bill is around the $185 per month average, you'll need a system with enough solar panels to generate 10 kilowatts (kW) of power under full sun. That’s about 27 370-watt solar panels.

The average cost of solar panels in Pennsylvania is about $2.38 per watt after the federal tax credit. That means the 10-kW system for the average home will have a net cost of about $23,800 after the first year.

You can pay that price up front in cash, but many people are now taking advantage of solar loans that allow for long repayment periods. You can pay off the loan using the electricity bill savings of net metering, and eventually own the panels free and clear without spending tens of thousands of dollars up front!

Bottom line: are solar panels worth the cost for PPL electric customers?

Yes, with a high cost of electricity and the ability to net meter your system, PPL customers are in an excellent position to save money with solar panels. Don’t forget that PPL files for rate increases every year, and with solar panels, those rate increases just mean more savings over what you would have been paying.

If you can take advantage of the solar tax credit, you can see a payback time of as little as 13 years, with a total estimated lifetime savings of $28,000, according to our solar panel calculator. The best solar panels now come 25- to 30-year warranties that mean your roof will be saving you money long into the future.

Find out how much solar panels will cost for your specific home

Written by Ben Zientara Solar Policy Analyst

Ben Zientara is a writer, researcher, and solar policy analyst who has written about the residential solar industry, the electric grid, and state utility policy since 2013. His early work included leading the team that produced the annual State Solar Power Rankings Report for the Solar Power Rocks website from 2015 to 2020. The rankings were utilized and referenced by a diverse mix of policymakers, advocacy groups, and media including The Center...

Learn more about Ben Zientara