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Solar 101

Solar FAQ

What rebates are available in Colorado?

Tax Credits

The Energy Policy Act of 2005 established a federal tax credit for the purchase and installation of solar electric systems. The credit is equal to 30 per cent of your portion of the system with no cap; previously the cap was set at $2,000. This recent change makes solar more affordable than ever.

Rebates

Several different rebate programs are available for home owners who want to install solar electric systems. Customers generally participate in rebate programs through their utility. Some of these programs are listed below.

Xcel Energy

  • Commercial and residential customers are eligible
  • Nine-cent production payment — you make nine cents for every watt-hour your system produces
  • System size restrictions: one kilowatt to 10 kilowatts DC

Why should I choose IPS?

IPS’s state-of-the-art solar electric systems are designed to provide the highest levels of performance, reliability and value.

Experience

  • Registered electrical contractor since 1996
  • NABCEP-certified installer
  • Staffed by professional engineer, master and journeyman electricians
    • Over 75 grid-tie solar systems installed on homes and businesses
  • Over 50 off-grid solar/wind systems

Quality

  • Each grid-tie installation warranted for 10 years
  • Complementary installation inspection at years one and five
  • System designs are reviewed by a professional engineer
  • Solar panels warranted for 25 years
  • Highest quality, state-of-the-art components from SunPower, Kyocera, SMA, Outback, UniRac, Direct Power and Water, and others

Why should I go solar?

By installing solar electric panels on your home or business you will:

  • Hedge your future energy costs
  • Reduce your contribution to global warming
  • Produce your energy domestically
  • Increase the value and appeal of your home
  • Take advantage of currently available state rebates and tax incentives that can cover up to 50 per cent of your cost
  • Eliminate or reduce your electricity bill
  • Contribute to local job creation
  • Spin your meter backwards and possibly receive a check from the utility

Will solar work for my house?

Generally, south-facing roofs with little shading work best for solar electric systems. However, even east- and west-facing roofs with solar panels can produce about 70 per cent as much as a south-facing roof with the same size solar array. Once you contact us and set up a site assessment we will come to your home to determine if your location is suitable.

What are some important questions to ask solar contractors as I shop around?

  1. Is the company installing your solar system a licensed electrical contractor? Every electrical contractor has to have a master electrician on staff.
  2. Are you NABCEP certified? This is the highest level of nationally recognized certification that you can get as a solar contractor.
  3. How long have you been in business? Have you been in business as long as the warranty you are offering?
  4. Have you designed the system with structural and environmental considerations? Does the system design take into consideration the existing roof structure and the environmental issues of wind and hail that we receive in this area?
  5. Is there a professional engineer reviewing the planned installation?
  6. Will you manage the Xcel Energy rebate? This is a time-consuming process and you will not receive the rebate nor can you turn your system on until you receive Xcel’s final approval.
  7. Have you considered the aesthetic aspects of the system? What will the internal wiring look like when the work is done? What will the solar panel arrangement and roof racking look like after the final installation?
  8. What liability and workman’s compensation insurance do you have? The contractor will be working on your largest asset — make sure you are protected!
  9. How many systems and what sizes of systems have you installed?

How does solar help the environment?

By installing a solar electric system on your home or business you will help to reduce your “carbon footprint” and thereby help to reduce the effects of global warming. An average size system of four kW (approximately 260 square feet of panels) eliminates 8,194 pounds of CO2 emissions in the first year. This is equal to planting 0.63 acre of trees.

How does my solar electricity work with the utility company?

All grid-tied (connected to the utility electric system) solar systems are connected to the grid via a “net meter.” A net meter is a utility meter that will run backward if your production of energy is greater than your consumption. Utilities offer net metering programs in conjunction with solar electric rebate programs. You are given retail credit for the excess energy you produce. Credits are carried over for 12 months. If you have credit left over at the end of the year the utility will purchase that energy from you at wholesale.

What happens at night or on a cloudy day?

Your solar panels will only produce electricity when they receive sunlight. You will need electricity, however, even when your panels are shaded. Systems that are grid-tied (connected to the utility electric grid) can draw energy from the grid when electricity is not being produced by the panels. Systems that are not grid-tied usually have battery backup storage. This means that systems that are not grid-tied must overproduce during the day and store the energy in a battery. The stored energy can then be used at night or when the panels are shaded.

Will my panels be damaged by extreme weather?

The solar industry standard is that panels be able to withstand three-quarter-inch diameter hail stones with a speed of 60 miles per hour. All of the panels we use pass these hail impact tests. We design your system to withstand the basic wind speed for your municipality. The panels themselves have passed various stress and wind loading tests.

How can I make a difference?

The benefits of solar electricity become even more pronounced when coupled with efficient use of energy. High-efficiency appliances and lighting can decrease load demands significantly and incorporating photovoltaics brings the concept around full circle to provide that energy from a clean source. The prospect of living and working in zero energy (or better) and carbon-neutral buildings is attainable today. By investing in solar you have already made a significant contribution toward those efforts. Get the most you can out of your investment by using that energy as efficiently as possible.

Consider Purchasing the Most Efficient Appliances and Conditioning Equipment

You can drastically reduce your energy use by using high-efficiency appliances and space conditioning equipment. While these may be more expensive to buy than comparable models with lower or average efficiency, the reduction in energy use will put that money back into your pocket long before the product wears out.

Rebate and Tax Incentive Programs for Energy-Efficient Appliances

Some states and utilities offer rebates if you purchase energy-efficient appliances. Rebates reduce the initial purchase price of high-efficiency models, making them even more attractive. Rebate programs are available for high-efficiency refrigerators, air conditioning equipment, dishwashers, water heaters and clothes washers. Some gas utilities offer rebates for high-efficiency furnaces, while water utilities may offer rebates for water-saving clothes washers.

A number of states have introduced tax incentives — typically tax credits or elimination of state sales tax — for the purchase of high-efficiency appliances. Federal tax credits are also under consideration. Check with your local utility providers and also desireusa.org for specific details and incentive programs.

Reduce Phantom Loads

Phantom loads are small drains of power that are always on in the house. Some obvious examples are digital clocks on stoves or microwaves, VCRs and stereos. Some not so obvious examples are anything powered by a wall cube, instant-on TVs and electric ignition stoves. Phantom loads can add up over time and have a cumulative effect that is quite significant. According to some sources, phantom loads add up to 43 billion kWh/year in America alone. This amount of power is equivalent to the electric use of Peru, Vietnam and Greece combined and generates 58.05 billion pounds of CO2/yr.

You can reduce phantom loads by avoiding such appliances, unplugging them when not in use or plugging into power strips and outlets that are then shut off at night or when power is not required.

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