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Is solar right for you?

Solar 101: How does a solar energy system work?

Frequently asked questions

Solar Self Generation Rates

Solar Welcome Packet

 

Is Solar Right For You?

Is your home energy efficient? Before considering solar, it is important to focus on reducing your overall energy usage by making energy-efficient upgrades. By maximizing your home’s energy efficiency first, you can be sure that the electricity produced by your solar electric system is not lost through leaky ductwork, inadequate insulation, or an inefficient heating and cooling system. As an LPC residential customer, you can speak with an expert Efficiency Works™ Energy Adviser, sign up for a home energy audit, and apply for efficiency rebates. Simply visit the Efficiency Works website or call 877-981-1888 to speak with an Energy Advisor today. 

Is your roof a good fit? If you are considering mounting solar panels to your roof, make sure your roof will hold up as long as the panels will. Solar panels are designed to last over 20 years, and removing and reattaching them to a rooftop can be expensive. It's best to make any needed roof repairs prior to purchasing a solar electric system. 

Do you rent or own your home? If you rent or your roof is not well suited for solar panels, you might consider investing in one of LPC’s other renewable offerings. Learn more about our other renewable programs

How long do you plan to live in your home? Purchasing a solar PV system is a large investment that can take some time to see a return. Consider how long you plan to stay in your home and how much of a payback you're likely to see in that time.

What size PV system would I need? This calculator can be used to figure out the size, costs, and benefits of a grid­-tied solar PV system for your home or business. It can be used for both owning and leasing a system.

Solar 101

The term “solar” can mean many different things to different people. Some think of solar energy as a way of living a greener life or saving money, while others may be unsure of what solar is and how it might benefit themselves. Below, we've included some basic information about solar energy, how it is used, and the benefits associated with a solar energy system.

How does a solar energy system work? 

how does solar work graphic

What happens at night?

Your PV system only generates electricity when the sun is shining, but your home still needs electricity on cloudy days and after the sun goes down. LPC provides net metering to all customers who install PV systems. Net metering is a billing program that allows customers with solar energy systems to buy and sell electricity to and from their utility.  By participating in the net metering program, a customer is able to buy electricity when their solar energy system is not producing enough energy to meet the demand in their home or business, and to sell the excess generation to the grid when they are producing more than needed.

Solar Customers Frequently Asked Questions

What are the steps to going solar? You, your contractor, and LPC all play important roles in bringing clean energy to your property:

  1. You: Efficiency First! Prepare your home with an Efficiency Works Energy Audit. Once you have completed any efficiency upgrades, contact a qualified solar contractor.
  2. Contractor: Your contractor will help with a site assessment, recommend system sizing, and walk you through all the paperwork needed. 
  3. LPC: Our engineers will review the one-line diagrams submitted with your application for a building permit and will complete pre-parallel testing. 

Will I still have a monthly electric bill? Yes. All customers who have their own electric generation equipment, including residential Solar/PV customers, are billed under LPC’s RGEN (Residential Self Generation) rate. This rate helps ensure that customers pay their fair share of the electric infrastructure used by the entire community, and accounts for both the energy LPC delivers to the customer and the energy that the customer’s system delivers to LPC. This is recorded on an ongoing basis via our net metering process. Learn more about LPC’s solar billing.

Why does the amount of electricity I sent to the LPC grid not match the output stated on my solar energy system’s monitoring device? The amount of electricity that you receive credit for will likely not match the stated production of your system’s monitoring device. Electricity is only sent back to the grid when your system is generating more than what your home or business is using at the time. If your home or business is using all of the electricity your system is generating, there is nothing to send back to the grid and therefore no credit on your bill.

What is included in my monthly customer charge? For self-generation customers, most of the fixed costs for the utility’s electric distribution system are placed into the monthly customer charge and removed from the kilowatt-hour charge. This results in a self-generation customer’s fixed monthly customer charge being more than a non-self-generating customer, with a corresponding decrease in their kilowatt-hour charge. Unlike a customer who only consumes electricity, a self-generating customer uses the electrical distribution system in two ways: drawing power from the grid and putting power back onto the grid.  If charges designed to collect for the utilities fixed costs were left in the kilowatt-hour charge for a self-generating customer, and that customer generated as much or more electricity over the year than they consumed, it would result in under-collecting for their share of the electric distribution system costs.  Since LPC is a not-for-profit customer-owned utility, this would result in other customers having to subsidize this usage.  The self-generation rate structure is designed to help eliminate cross-subsidization. 

Why do I have multiple electricity usage lines in the Electric Service section of my utility bill?The top section of the electric usage detail shows the amount of energy used from LPC’s grid in kWh for the month and the associated charge. The bottom section displays the amount of energy put back onto LPC’s grid in kWh, and the associated credit. This is not the amount of energy your PV system is generating, it is only the amount that your system generates in excess of what you are using at the time of generation. To learn more about LPC’s net billing, please see our Solar Welcome Packet.

Does LPC have an approved list of solar installers/contractors? LPC does not endorse or have any exclusive partnerships with solar installers, and is not responsible for the installation process. When choosing an installer, it is highly recommended that you speak with and obtain bids from a minimum of three contractors.

Does LPC provide any oversight with the installation process?LPC does not offer installation services or provide oversight of the installation process; however, we do conduct a field inspection to ensure that the installation meets our requirements. Selecting an experienced solar contractor is one of the most important steps in the overall installation process.

How do I decide if buying or leasing is the right option for me? The installer can advise you on the pros and cons of buying vs. leasing. If you prefer to own your solar installation, you should consult with your tax advisor to determine your eligibility for federal and state tax credits.

SolSmart

 

 

SolSmart – 2017 SolSmart Bronze award recipient

 

 

 

Solar Friendly Communities

 

SFC – 2014 Solar Friendly Communities award recipient

 

 

Your Energy Colorado

 

YES – Your Energy Colorado is known for providing Coloradan’s with research-based resources on energy through Colorado State University.

 

Average Daily Solar Resource for South-facing PV Panels with Latitude Tilt

Solar-1 Source: National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), “Photovoltaic Solar Resource of the United States” From Dynamic Maps, GIS data, and Analysis Tools, accessed August 3, 2012. http://www.nrel.gov/gis/solar.html

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