Yes, You Really Can Spin Your Power Meter Backward!

A Happy Residential Solar Customer's Energy Bill

Carbondale Resident Makes His “Efficient” Home Even More So With A Residential Solar System…

Michael built a house for himself in Carbondale in 2002. While it was an energy efficient design, he wanted to further reduce the

Another Happy SoL Energy Customer
Another Happy SoL Energy Customer

energy usage of his sizable house and hot tub.

Not long after the house was finished, Michael attended a solar power seminar at Solar Energy International (SEI), one of the first solar training facilities in the US and located right in Carbondale. There he learned about SōL Energy, run by Ken Olson, a Carbondale-based solar contractor and one of the founders of SEI.

The idea of solar panels appealed to Michael for several reasons. “I don’t consider myself a tree hugger but I like the idea of being a little green, a little nicer to the environment,” says Michael. He also liked the opportunity to harness energy from the sun, and save money by making his house even more energy efficient. “Plus, I knew any upfront investment would pay for itself in a short amount of time. And with the solar incentives available it was a no brainer.”

Michael investigated other solar companies, ultimately choosing SōL Energy. “Ken was great to work with, and I liked the idea of hiring a local solar company.” So working with SōL Energy, Michael determined that a 6kW system would offset 100% of his electrical energy needs. The on-paper cost of a 6 kW solar photovoltaic (PV) system was $20K, but with solar rebates and other incentives available through federal and local incentive programs, Michael’s actual cost on the project was about $6K. SōL helped him navigate the financing, including connecting him with all available incentives.

Michael’s annual electric bill before installing his residential solar system was roughly $1,000 a year. With a solar system on the house his bill has been reduced to $9 a month. “Net Metering”, a Colorado State law, allows Michael to bank his excess power production with the utility in summer months and apply it to winter utility bills. At year’s end the utility pays Michael for the power he has generated over and above that which he has used.

When asked what he might do differently in hindsight, Michael says, “nothing. It’s been a great experience.  The solar panels look nice on the house. SōL Energy was easy to work with. I learned everything I needed to know. The installation crew was great, very conscientious. And since SōL Energy is a long-standing Carbondale solar contractor  they are very responsive, which I like.” And there is usually an increase in value to a home that generates its own electricity.

Michael has thoughts for anyone thinking of installing a residential solar system today. “Now that solar panels have come down in price and are even more efficient, there’s really no reason to say no. Plus you add LED lighting technology to the mix and it just gets more efficient.”

Got questions? Email us or give us a call at (970) 963-1060.

Just the facts, Jack:

Incentives: Current incentives available for residential solar installation in the Roaring Fork Valley:

  • Federal Solar Tax Credit: 30% off the total cost of a residential system after other incentives are applied. The current federal tax credit is scheduled to step down over time until it terminates at the end of 2021 (no cap).
  • CORE’s “Energy Smart” up-front rebate: $1 per watt or $3000 for on-site, customer-owned systems. Cap for residential.
  • Holy Cross “up front” tiered rebate (first come, first served): $750 per kW up to first 6 kW; $500 per kW for next 6-12 kW, and $200 per kW for 12 to up to 25 kW. Cap at 50% of total project materials and labor cost.

See the Residential Solar page for more information.

Maintenance: Solar PV systems need very little maintenance. Natural precipitation like rain or snow keeps the panels clean enough for optimal performance.

Useful Links:

Federal tax credit for solar panels

CORE – Community Office for Resource Efficiency

Holy Cross Energy


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