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Colorado electric solar program

Colorado is known for its abundant sunshine and is often cited as having over 300 days of sunshine per year. The sunny climate is one of the reasons why Colorado is a popular location for solar energy installations including residential solar. The state’s sunny weather makes it well suited for harnessing solar power to generate electricity which not only helps reduce greenhouse gas emissions but also provides an opportunity for homeowners and businesses to take advantage of clean renewable energy sources. 

To get started:

We recommend that customers read the program rules, talk to their solar energy neighbors, and contact several qualified on-site solar installation contractors ideally, three or more. Industry professionals will help you decide the size and type of system that will best meet your needs and obtain the necessary permits and inspections.  The Colorado Solar Energy Industries Association, COSEIA maintains a list of qualified Colorado solar installation contractors with the training and experience necessary to properly design and install a solar system. 

Ask the right questions

Asking the right questions and carefully reviewing solar developer responses will help you make an informed decision when choosing the right company and will help ensure a successful solar installation project. 

  • How long has the company been in the solar industry? 
  • Can you provide refences and examples of past solar projects you’ve completed?
  • Are your installers and technicians licensed and certified?
  • What warranties are offered to cover solar panels, inverters and other components?
  • Is there a maintenance plan included in the contract and what are the terms?
  • Can you explain the design of the solar system for my property, including panel placement and orientation?
  • What is the estimated energy production and system efficiency?
  • What is the total cost of the installation including all associated fees and equipment?
  • Can you help me understand any available government incentives, tax credits, or rebates that apply to my project? 
  • What is the estimated timeline for the installation, from start to finish?
  • What is the expected duration of the permitting process?
  • Is there a system monitoring solution in place to track the performance of my solar system?
  • How can I access and interpret this data?
  • What is the process for reporting and addressing system issues or failures?
  • Are there any additional costs associated with maintenance or repairs?
  • Can you provide a detailed contract outlining all terms and conditions? 
  • Do you have liability insurance to cover any damages to my property during installation?
  • Do you guarantee a minimum level of energy production or system performance?
  • What happens if the system doesn’t meet the expected performance levels?
  • What are the precures and costs associated with removing the system if necessary in the future?
  • How can I reach your team for support and inquiries during and after installation?
  • Do you provide regular updates on project progress?

Important information 

  • If you install a new, private on-site solar system during the year, you are eligible for the production-based incentive program (PBI) to help cover a portion of the cost of your investment.
  • The number of available subscriptions for a PBI are limited and very competitive. Residential PBI is awarded four times a year on a first-come, first-served basis. Commercial PBI is awarded once per year, on the first business day of the year.
  • The production-based incentive is guided by PUC rules. It is based on the total amount of solar electricity generated by your system during a calendar year.
  • PBI payments for the previous year are made in January. 

The PBI incentive is limited and awarded four times a year on a first-come, first-served basis.

  • Quarterly PBI applications will be accepted at 10 a.m. on the first business day of the quarter (January, April, July, and October)
  • If you have a PBI, then we will issue a PBI check within 60 days after the end of the year. 
  • If the PBI fund has been exhausted for the quarter, you may choose to wait until the next quarter to resubmit your application or proceed with your solar installation without a PBI.

Example one: (PBI Reservation):

  • Your solar system produces 6,000 kWh in one month.
  • You use a total of 4,000 kWh in the same month.
  • Your excess energy of 2,000 kWh goes into a "banked energy" account for future credit.
  • Your net usage will be zero for the month, since your production was in excess of your usage.
  • The solar production of 6,000 kWh will contribute to the annual PBI incentive payment.
  • You bill will reflect only the minimum interconnection charge.

Example two (PBI Reservation):

  • Your solar system produced 500 kWh in one month.
  • Your usage for the month was 1,000 kWh.
  • Your total net usage was 500 kWh that month.
  • Banked energy credits from "prior banked energy" were 100 kWh.  These are available to offset your bill. Net kWh for billing is 400 kWh for the month. 
  • The solar production of 500 kWh will contribute to the annual PBI incentive payment.

PBI is calculated by multiplying the total number of kilowatt-hours (kWh) generated by your private, on-site solar system times the applicable PBI multiplier rate. PBI payment terms are as follows:

  • Tier 1 Solar Systems: (0.5 kW up to and equal to 30 kW)
    • Year 2019: $0.040 per kWh is paid over a 10-year period.
    • Year 2020: $0.035 per kWh is paid over a 10-year period.
    • Year 2021: $0.030 per kWh is paid over a 10-year period.
  • Tier 2 Solar Systems: (30.001 kW up to and equal to 500 kW)
    • Year 2019: $0.070 per kWh is paid over a 10-year period.
    • Year 2020: $0.065 per kWh is paid over a 10-year period.
    • Year 2021: $0.060 per kWh is paid over a 10-year period