PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — A record number of solar panels have been installed in Rhode Island this year alone, but not everyone has been able to accumulate the credits that come with the switch.

Data from Rhode Island Energy reveals that, since 2019, more than 15,000 homes have switched to solar. Of those properties, two-thirds run off of net meters, which calculate power generated up to 125% of on-site consumption during each billing period. The meters run backwards when the panels are producing more energy than being used by the home, crediting the owner’s electric bill.

“With net metering, you get negative credits at full retail value from the utility,” solar consultant Jim Aubin explained, adding that those credits are calculated in real-time and come from the unused energy a customer’s property produces but doesn’t consume.

But a number of residents who recently switched to solar have yet to receive their net meters. Rhode Island Energy explained its net meter supplier has been experiencing supply chain issues.

Aubin said the lack of net meters has created a headache for several of his customers.

“So, all of these customers [switch to solar], get it installed and get it inspected, but then we are just stuck waiting on the utility to swap out the meter and actually turn it on,” Aubin said.

In turn, Aubin said a number of residents who installed solar panels this summer have no choice but to start paying their loans, even though their systems aren’t fully operational.

“If they own the system, usually loan payments start 90 days after they sign regardless of the system status,” Aubin said. “So, now they are paying for both the solar loan and their utility bill.”

Rhode Island Energy tells 12 News that as of last Thursday, there were 44 outstanding requests for net meters dating back to July 21. The utility confirmed that more net meters have since arrived and the process of coordinating their delivery and installation has begun.

“Every year more and more people are going solar and that’s due to two things,” he said. “The utility price increases every single year, so the savings benefit is greater. Also, more of their neighbors are going solar, so there’s more proof of concept.”