Once you decide to invest in solar, there are several steps to getting your new system installed. Be sure to complete every step in order to start reaping the benefits of net metering.
1. Energy Efficiency First
Start by making your home more efficient. If you use less energy, it means you need to produce less energy and you can install a smaller system to save even more money. On the flipside, if you think you will be using more electricity in the future because you plan to purchase an EV or do electrification upgrades soon, knowing that will help you optimally size your system now. Start with an energy audit (LPEA has a rebate!) to help identify ways to save. Check out LPEA’s energy efficiency page and LPEA’s rebate page to help make efficiency and electrification measures easier.
2. Understand your Electricity Usage
The ideal size of your PV solar system will depend on how much electricity you use. Right-sizing is extremely important to ensure you get the best financial return on your investment and to best support the grid. If you want to estimate the size of a PV system you will need, you can follow these instructions to get your historic usage from your SmartHub account and then use this downloadable spreadsheet to estimate the size of the system based on your residence’s unique characteristics. Keep in mind that these are estimates and a qualified solar installer will be able to provide a more detailed quote.
3. Get Three Quotes from Qualified Installers
It is important to choose the right installer. LPEA’s list of Qualified Solar Installers is a great place to start. Read about what distinguishes Qualified Installers. Any Installer you get a quote from should ask you to provide information on your historic electricity usage. You can provide them with information from SmartHub or complete a Billing Data Authorization form to allow LPEA to release this information directly to them. We recommend getting multiple quotes to compare costs, equipment, and find a trustworthy partner to guide you through the process. Make sure each bid includes the total cost of getting the PV system running, including major equipment, installation, interconnection to LPEA’s grid, permits, and warranties. Cost/watt and estimated cost/kWh are useful metrics for comparing prices from each quote. Finally, please visit our Solar Scams page to be aware of false advertisements. We recommend you avoid working with any installer who makes these claims.
Why choose a Qualified Solar Installer?
LPEA’s Qualified Solar Installers have experience working within LPEA’s territory and understands our policies and procedures. They have shown to be reliable and trustworthy solar installers with minimal customer complaints.
4. Review the financial impact of installing a solar PV system
LPEA has created a tool to help estimate potential financial impacts of installing a solar PV system. You can learn more about how a solar PV system might affect your monthly electricity bill and what the long-term return on investment might be. This tool also illustrates the value of right-sizing your system. Please read the instructions to understand how to use the tool, the assumptions it incorporates, and its limitations.
The Colorado State University Extension Office also built a tool to evaluate the long-term financial impacts of purchasing or financing a solar PV system. You can download it here.
5. Choose your installer and authorize them to begin your interconnection application!
After you have chosen your installer, please fill out the Customer Agreement Form. The Customer Agreement Form grants your installer the authority to communicate with LPEA on your behalf to interconnect your solar with LPEA’s grid. It also demonstrates that you understand and agree to the rules and regulations associated with having a solar PV system interconnected with LPEA’s grid. Please carefully read the acknowledgements and initial on each page. After filling out this form please provide it to your installer.