Frequently Asked Questions.
Poudre Valley REA is committed to helping our members find affordable, reliable and safe energy options. Here are some tips to help you evaluate the risks and benefits of rooftop solar and finding a solution that is right for you.
Q: Is rooftop solar a good option for me?
Whether and how much you will benefit from a residential solar array depends on …
• how much you pay for electricity
• how much electricity you use
• your roof
• state and local incentives for solar development
• your rooftop solar provider
Q: Is my house suitable for a rooftop solar array?
• Does your roof face south or west and is it shaded?
• Will you need to replace your roof sometime during the life of the panels? If so, you should replace your roof first.
• Have you explored all of your energy efficiency options? (It doesn’t make sense to purchase more solar than you need!) We can help you reduce your energy use and right-size your array.
• Does your community have restrictions?
Q: Can I still get the benefits of solar if I don’t live in a house or if my house isn’t suitable?
At PVREA, you can be a part of our community solar farm through our myLocal Solar program. Benefits include:
• Available to all
• Optimal siting for maximum efficiency
• Co-op assumes all responsibility and liability for the system
• Flexible sizing to fit any budget
• Easy opt out if you don't like the program
Q: Will solar panels provide electricity in the event of an outage?
When the sun isn’t shining, solar panels are not generating energy. Without a battery system and a “smart inverter,” most rooftop arrays do not provide power during a cloudy day or at night. If the sun is shining and the solar panels are generating energy during a PVREA outage, your solar panels may provide electricity to your home or business.
Q: Will my electricity be free once I install solar panels?
A: Not entirely.
PVREA members can have solar PV panels and interconnect to our electrical distribution system with a net meter and interconnection agreement. Solar panels do not provide electricity 24/7, so your home still needs electricity from PVREA. Your monthly PVREA bill will still have the Facilities Charge line item to cover the operating and maintenance cost of having electricity available for your home.
Q: What should I know before I sign a contract?
A: If you are purchasing a rooftop solar array, be sure to ask…
• What is the total installed (turnkey) cost of the system?
• What is the payback period? What are the assumptions underlying that estimate?
• Will I need to finance the array?
• Who gets the tax credits (the “renewable energy credit”)?
• Will I receive “free” electricity once panels are paid for?
• Does the company offer warranties on panels AND inverters?
• What are the details of the service contract?
A: If you are leasing panels in a rooftop array, be sure to ask …
• What is the upfront cost of the system?
• Are there other customers in the vicinity with comparable systems? How much electricity are their systems producing?
• Who gets the tax benefit (the “renewable energy credit”)
• Can the lease be transferred if I sell the house?
• Does the lease company have the right to run a credit check?
Q: As a consumer, how can I protect myself and my investment?
When you make the decision to invest in residential solar, you are making a significant financial investment. Be sure to do your research on the company. Colorado State University Energy Institute also has great tools and calculators to help you.
• Are the installers North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP) Solar Photovoltaic (PV) Electric trained and certified?
• When was your company established and how much solar has it installed to date?
• Can your company provide a list of the projects and references for them?
• Are you accredited with the Better Business Bureau? If so, what is your rating?
Q: How should I size my solar array if my home is new construction?
A: Use finished square footage
For new residential construction, members may apply for up to 3 kilowatt hours per finished square foot. Additional capacity may be granted on a case-by-case basis for additional electric load, such as electric heat (baseboard, cove, heat pumps), electric vehicles, or other unique electric loads. Members should remember that any overproduction as of the April 1 annual true-up date will be credited per the Tariff NP (Net Metering), which is currently $0.04528/kWh.
Commercial or other use will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis dependent upon forecasted electricity consumption.