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Why Should I Choose Solar from SoL Energy?

Ken Olson, President & CEO of SoL Energy, has been working in solar since the 1980s. He was one of the original co-founders of Solar Energy International (SEI) and served as its Executive Director for its first ten years.


Sol Energy has been expanding the use of solar energy in the Roaring Fork Valley and throughout Colorado for 20+ years. We installed our first project in 2003 and have a portfolio of projects ranging from small residential systems, off-grid systems, and large multi-building municipal projects.

We would be happy to put you in contact with some of our customers so you can hear directly from them.w

What Incentives or Rebates Are Currently Available?

For qualified applicants, there is currently a federal tax credit of 26% which is scheduled to drop down to 22% for systems installed in 2023. There are also various local incentives available that depend on your specific location. Our proposal will advise you of what local incentives are currently available. However, we always recommend that you independently confirm your qualification for these incentives with a tax advisor.

How Much Does A Solar System Cost?

Typically, a solar system will have a monthly cost that is less than or equal to your current electric bill.  The difference is, you are investing in system ownership rather than renting power from your utility.

Specific details will vary based on your specific circumstances and objectives. Many variables go into determining the cost of a PV system. SoL Energy will conduct a Site Survey to quickly provide you with an exact cost. We will determine your anticipated electric usage, as well as your specific objectives so that our design will meet your expectations. We will gather information from the installation site -- this can often be done remotely. We will present you with a detailed proposal that includes total system costs, an estimated Installation timeline, and available financing options.

When is the BEST Time to Invest in Solar Power?

NOW. Every month you pay your electric bill, you are throwing money away. After you install solar, your monthly outlay goes into your equity in the system. Typically, you will pay off your system in 10 years or less.

How Long Does It Take to Install a Typical System?

An average system takes less than one week to install. However, we are often waiting for approval from the power company and local jurisdictions for permitting etc. 


Will My System Provide Electricity During a Power Outage?

If you want your house to be powered by the system during a power outage, we will need to incorporate batteries into the system design. This is due to a national safety standard which requires grid-tied PV systems to disconnect from the grid during a power outage. Since grid tied systems have the potential to push electricity through your meter and onto the power grid (via net metering), this would create a hazard for employees of the utility company working to restore power to the lines during a power outage if it remained connected.

How Long Does a PV System Continue Working?

The major components of the PV system are typically warranted to function for a minimum of 25 years. However, solar modules have no moving parts, and you can expect them to keep functioning for 40 to 50 years. Solar modules degrade at an average of one half of one percent annually. In year 25 they are warranted to produce more than 85% of what they did in year one.

What if my solar modules are covered in snow?

Solar power systems are designed for the anticipated snow cover for the region in which they are installed.. We provide the anticipated electrical production of all of our systems within the design we put together for you. Solar providers take into account the amount of average snowfall for the area in which you live. Also, since solar modules are dark and absorb sunlight, the snow will melt a little faster and will slide off easier because of the slick surface of the modules.

What if My Roof Requires Maintenance?

Most roofs, whether metal, asphalt shingle, or rubber, come with a warranty. If the roof is near the end of it’s life, we recommend replacing the roof cover prior to the PV installation or have a roofing company assess the roof. If the roof is in good shape, we just move forward with the installation. In addition, once the solar modules are on the roof, they should increase the life of the roof since the modules also serve as a barrier to the elements. When and if a roof needs to be replaced after an installation, we remove the solar array for a fee, and then reinstall the system after a roofing company completes the work.


What if I Don’t Have Much Room on My Roof for Solar Panels?

We will assess your site to help determine if a ground mount design makes sense. We also provide multi-purpose out buildings designed to serve as a carport, shed, storage, etc. Sometimes we do not recommend solar at all if a site is in a forest of tall trees, for example.

What is Net Metering?

Net Metering is where the utility will allow system owners to store their excess electricity on the grid to be used at a future time. For example, if a system is designed to supply ALL the electricity for a customer, there will be times during a sunny day when the PV is providing the customer ALL their electricity AND excess gets pushed out through the meter and onto the grid. For each kilowatt hour pushed through the meter onto the grid, a kilowatt hour credit is measured by the meter. This credit can then be used at night, for example. This program is what allows system owners to generate all their electrical needs on an ongoing basis.  

Can I produce enough electricity to meet ALL my electrical needs, day, and night?

Since the sun does not shine at night, this is only possible by participating in a program called net metering (see the question above for the definition of net metering).

The Tesla Battery technology was specifically designed for the use case of an electric automobile. Key requirements for this use case include rapid charging and High Energy Density. The LFP (Lithium Ferro/Iron Phosphate) design used by Fortress Power (our supplier) is far superior for stationary applications. It excels in Safety, Eco-Friendliness and Thermal Stability. It also offers approximately twice the number of Life Cycles. It provides these benefits at roughly half the cost per kilowatt-hour. 

Does it make sense to purchase a PV system that generates more electricity than I consume?

Sometimes, yes. Particularly when you anticipate an increase in your electrical usage. Common scenarios that would cause this are the acquisition of electric cars, transitioning from gas or fossil fuel-based heat to electric, additional people in the house or putting an addition on the house, to name a few. In addition, there are regulations to consider related to the sizing of systems depending upon where your site is located. For example, Holy Cross Electric allows a system to be sized to generate up to 20% more electricity than you consume. Glenwood Springs, on the other hand, allows for any size system at all as long as it is no larger than 10kW.