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Solar for Fort Collins Residents#

Equipping your home with solar photovoltaic (PV) panels can reduce your carbon footprint and your electricity bill. Fort Collins Utilities offers resources to customers interested in generating their own renewable energy and for people who have solar installed. More than 2,400 residential customers have solar PV systems in Fort Collins, which provide more than 15 megawatts of generating capacity.  

Fort Collins Utilities provides incentives to defray a portion of installation costs and guidance to help make sure each project is a success. Solar and battery incentives are available to both single-family homes as well as multifamily buildings for both individual and shared energy systems.    

If you're interested in solar, we encourage you to take time to research. Check out the information in the tabs and links below.

Is Rooftop Solar a Fit for My House?

Google's Project Sunroof is a free tool to assess your roof's solar potential. Does your roof or installation site have uninterrupted sun from 9 a.m.-3 p.m.? Savings suggested by Project Sunroof are likely inaccurate because the method is not disclosed and not tied to current Fort Collins Utilities rates. Seek specific savings analysis from a Participating Solar Contractor to determine if solar is a fit for your home.  

Consider also the age and condition of your roof. Removing a solar PV system to replace a roof can be expensive, so it is recommended to replace or upgrade an old roof before installing a solar system. 

Efficiency First

Start with a Home Efficiency Audit from Efficiency Works. An audit will provide a full assessment of your home's efficiency level and recommendations to improve it, including costs of different measures. Investing in efficiency can provide less expensive improvements and better financial returns than purchasing solar generation to offset energy bills. 

Learn more about Epic Homes

Fort Collins Utilities also offers the new Epic Certificate to showcase your investments in efficiency and solar, providing a way for the real estate market to value the energy and solar PV upgrades. For the Epic Certificate to accurately reflect the homes improvements and the estimated annual energy savings from the solar PV system, the required energy assessment must be performed before the solar installation.  

Learn more about the Epic Certificate

Sizing Your Solar PV System

Solar PV system designers often choose a system size to meet a certain percentage of a household's annual energy consumption. Though a solar PV system provides a portion of the energy your household consumes over the course of a year, it will sometimes produce more than needed and will produce less than needed at other times (nighttime or cloudy days). Your home will stay connected to the Fort Collins Utilities electric grid so you have reliable electricity during these fluctuations. How you select the right size for your solar PV system will be a balance of your priorities: 

  • Total cost budget, monthly payments and cash flow 
  • Goals for offsetting energy from the grid 
  • Available sunny space on your roof or property 

Solar PV system size is limited to either 12 kilowatts or to one that produces no more than 200% of your average annual energy load (based on a 24-month period), including all dedicated generation sources. For solar systems that are not owned by the property owner, such as leased systems, maximum solar system sizing is limited to 120% of intended renewable energy offset. 

If your home is new or you recently moved in, Fort Collins Utilities can provide a solar system size analysis based on other estimation methods. We also consider sizing adjustments upon request to account for significant changes to electric load, such as adding an electric vehicle. 

You can share energy consumption history with solar contractors through the MyData platform or by sharing your bills.

Resources for Shopping

External resources that provide solar buyer services, education and representation include:  

Interview Contractors 

When you're ready to consider proposals for solar at your home, be sure to work with a Participating Solar Contractor, so that you can access the Residential Solar Rebate. The listed contractors have completed orientation to understand how solar works with the rates, program incentives and codes that apply in Fort Collins. Contractors typically guide you in the installation process and manage submitting all required documentation for the solar interconnection and rebate. 

Talk with solar contractors to understand their business and experience. You might ask:  

  • How long has your company been in business? Where is it based? How long have you been doing business in Fort Collins? 
  • If a contractor comes to solicit at your door, do they have a solicitor ID badge issued by the City of Fort Collins? 
  • Do you install the solar PV system yourself, or subcontract that work? 
  • Will your NABCEP-certified installers be present for the entire installation? 
  • Can you provide references from recent customers in the Fort Collins area? 
  • Do you provide a performance guarantee and warranty workmanship of the system? How long? 
  • How do you calculate what system will be the best for me? 
  • Is the price you provide a guaranteed total cost or is it just an estimate?
  • Can you show me the financial impact of installing solar panels using my actual on-peak and off-peak consumption data with Fort Collins net meter rules?

You can review the company's performance with the Better Business Bureau and check for reviews on social media for the experience of local customers.  

Evaluating Proposals

To compare proposals from different vendors, consider that the different proposed designs may be different sizes and could be designed for different system lifespans. To compensate for these variables, compare the system costs in dollars ($), as well as the cost per kilowatt (kW) (divide the total cost by the size in DC-kW to get $/kW). The average cost of solar installations in Fort Collins has been between $3,500 to $4,000 per kW DC in recent years, excluding systems with battery storage. 

When you compare proposals, consider:  

  • Warranties for the equipment, system workmanship 
  • Any guarantee of performance from the systems proposed  
  • Who is responsible to provide ongoing support for any maintenance, warranty, or repairs needed 
  • Solar leases can require payment in full if you sell the home, or they may be transferable (requiring the buyer to submit to the lease terms) 

Don't be afraid to ask pointed questions if anything in the proposal is unclear.  

What You Need to Know about Solar in Fort Collins

Review this simple Solar Fact Sheet to understand how adding a solar PV system would affect your Fort Collins Utilities energy bill. Customers with solar PV systems will not have electric power during a distribution grid outage affecting their service transformer. Customers may install a battery storage system designed to isolate from the grid during an outage to serve the home’s energy loads.  

A Participating Solar Contractor will provide a copy of this Fact Sheet with their solar PV proposal.  

What's the cost of installing solar in Fort Collins? 

In recent years, the average cost of residential solar PV systems, without battery storage, has been in the range of $3,500 to $4,000 per kilowatt of DC generating capacity. For example, a 6 kW solar array might cost $21,000 to $24,000 before rebates and tax credits are applied. Systems may be more expensive if there are premium components, multiple subarrays, complex roof planes, maintenance services or extended warranties.

Energy Savings with Solar PV

When you generate solar power, this solar energy reduces or replaces the energy you would otherwise purchase from Fort Collins Utilities. When your solar array produces more than you need, that energy immediately flows back into the electric grid. You are credited for net energy returned to the grid based on the residential net metering energy rate in effect at that time. These net metering credits are added to your monthly utility bill, reducing the total amount due from energy and other charges for water, wastewater and stormwater.  

Purchased a Home with Solar Already Installed?

Welcome to the community of solar owners! 

All property owners with solar or battery storage installed on their property must have a Net Metering Agreement on file with Fort Collins Utilities. If the property has changed ownership since installation, please complete the Net Metering Agreement form. After we receive it, we’ll email you a special certificate to keep with your records.

To learn more about solar in Fort Collins, and how solar credits are reflected on your energy bill, see the Net Metering section under the Incentives tab. Read through the Solar Resources and contact us if you have further questions.

Complete Your Net Metering Agreement

What's the Payback On a Solar Investment?

By generating your own solar energy, you will reduce the energy consumed from the Fort Collins Utilities grid. The amount of energy you generate and the monthly bill impacts will vary throughout the year, with the greatest energy production near the summer solstice, and the lowest energy production near the winter solstice. Fort Collins Utilities and solar contractors use sophisticated computer models to estimate how much energy a model solar PV system can generate based on its location, local weather, the orientation of the array or multiple arrays, and other equipment specifications.  To estimate the financial return of an investment in solar PV, these models also incorporate electric utility rates, and assumptions about how those rates may change over time, financing rates, and degradation in the efficiency of the solar array production. 

Ask solar contractors for analysis of the financial benefits with their proposal.   

Financing Options  

The Epic Loan program makes going solar even easier with competitive interest rates and no-money-down financing. Other financing options are available. EnergySage can provide a list of companies, but these are not vetted by Fort Collins Utilities. 

Learn More

Additional Research Resources  

Fort Collins Utilities' recommends working with the members of the Participating Solar Contractor Network listed below. Contractors in the Network have committed to conduct their business according to a code of ethics and the Solar Energy Industries Association Solar Business Code

Residential Solar Rebates are only available to customers who work with active Participating Solar Contractors through purchasing, design and installation of their solar PV system. Customers are encouraged to solicit competitive bids from two or more contractors. Use Utilities' MyData portal to share your energy history data with contractors that have registered for this service.

This list is updated periodically as contractors join or leave the network. Consult the Better Business Bureau and social media sites for additional consumer feedback.

Active Participating Solar Contractors

Company Name MyData Link Phone Colorado based Email Sales/ Marketing Design Install Battery Install
A. Adkisson Electric Inc   303-332-5078 Yes candy@solarpros.us    
Action Solar   801-471-3517 No

Ijeffs@actionsolar.com

Alt E Wind & Solar Share data 970-482-7652 Yes rick@altewindandsolar.com
Apollo Energy Share data

720-582-8258

Yes

info@harnessoursun.com
Blue Raven Solar  

855-608-0365

No

support@blueravensolar.com  
Burnham & Sun Share data 970-482-6924 Yes burnhamsun@aol.com
Complete Energy Solutions Share data 888-947-8626 Yes contact@densolar.com  
Custom Solar   303-859-8597 Yes projects@customsolar.us  
Elevated Independent Energy   970-460-4970 Yes

sales@einrg.com

Evident Solar Share data 970-316-3311 Yes robert@evidentsolar.com  
Freedom Solar   720-771-9698 No robert@freedomsolarpower.com  

ION Solar

 

888-781-7074 No info@ionsolar.com  
Klick Solar Share data

720-465-9073

Yes

support@klicksolar.com    
Namaste Solar Share data 303-447-0300 Yes ressalessupport@namastesolar.com
Next Energy Solar Share data 970-900-2003 Yes info@nextenergy.solar  

Photon Brothers

Share data 720-370-3344 Yes contact@photonbrothers.com  
Powur   866-467-6987 No

support@powur.com

Pro Bid Energy Share data 844-477-6243 Yes sales@probidenergy.com
REenergizeCO Share data 970-323-3191 Yes mscherer@reenergizeco.com
Sandbox Solar Share data 970-673-7733 Yes sales@sandboxsolar.com
Skyline Solar LLC Share data 855-475-9765 No support@skyline.solar
Smart Wave Solar   801-944-7775 No

bids@smartwavesolar.com

Solar Power Pros Share data 303-797-6527 Yes contact@solarpowerpros.net  
Southard Solar & Construction  

303-776-5271

Yes

info@southardsolar.com  
Sunrun

Share data

720-381-4496

No

southwest-nem@sunrun.com

Suntalk  

303-904-2268

Yes

info@suntalksolar.com  
Tesla Energy Operations  

N/A - sales inquires made online

No

N/A - sales inquires made online

Titan Solar Power

 

480-389-9439

No

colorado.utilities@titansolarpower.com    

Weddle and Sons

 

970-568-8749

Yes

fortcollins@weddleandsons.com

 

Contractors: see the Solar Contractor Resources page for project resources and details on joining the Network. 

The Participating Solar Contractor Network and listed resources are intended as a starting point for customers who do not have a prior relationship with a service provider or vendor. No warranty regarding the accuracy of the information, experience, quality of service, licensure, or proof of insurance or bonding is implied by listing a contractor in the Network. Under the City of Fort Collins Charter, Municipal Code, and City Manager’s Policies, the City is unable to recommend or endorse any individual contractor, without regard to those listed in the Network. 

Suspended Solar Contractors

The following contractors are not active in the Participating Solar Contractor Network but can be engaged to develop solar PV projects. Customers working with these contractors are not eligible for Residential Solar Rebates, battery incentives or Epic Loans 

  • Auric Solar
  • Bello Solar Energy
  • Total Solar Solutions
  • Avolta

Incentives

Residential customers can apply to receive rebates up to $1,000 for a solar PV installation. Rebate amounts are calculated based on the schedule of $/Watt of DC system generation capacity shown below and include a 20-year Renewable Energy Credit (REC) assignment to Fort Collins Utilities. See Eligibility Requirements below for more details.

To ensure access to incentive funding to all eligible customers, we manage the solar rebate program incentive cap and earnings rate based on available funding. The table below shows the maximum incentive amount and incentive rate paid per kW of DC generating capacity installed.

Maximum Incentive $1,000
Incentive Rate $250/kW

 

Additional Incentives for Adding Battery Storage 

Considering adding a battery to your home energy system? Customers with battery storage can store solar energy to offset on-peak energy consumption.

Learn More About Battery Incentives

Solar Rebate Eligibility Requirements:  

The actual incentive amount is calculated based on installed design and may be reduced due to modeled performance against optimal array orientation. 

  • Solar PV system owner must be a residential Fort Collins Utilities electric customer.
  • Solar PV Systems must be sold, designed and installed by a Participating Solar Contractor (no subcontracting outside the Participating Solar Contractor Network).
  • PV system must be sized greater than 500 watts. 
  • Systems must meet Utilities Interconnection Standards.
  • Equipment must be new and UL listed and named on the eligible equipment list.
  • If the system is shaded between 9 a.m.-3 p.m., the applicant must submit a shading analysis (check with your solar contractor). 
  • Customer agrees to manage trees and other potential shading sources to prevent shading from 9 a.m. - 3 p.m. 
  • Incentive rate may be reduced for systems generating less than 90% of optimal production.
  • The system must be installed within six months of the rebate reservation letter.

Interconnection and Rebate Application 

All distributed generation interconnection applications are submitted through PowerClerk, Fort Collins Utilities' application platform. It incorporates incentives for solar, as well as battery installations.  

  • Solar Contractors submit the application, along with supporting documents.  
  • The customer signs to acknowledge Fort Collins Utilities' interconnection requirements and policies via an email DocuSign process.

Financing

On-bill financing is available through the Epic Loan, subject to the project eligibility requirements listed above. Elevations Credit Union also offers Energy Loans.

Learn more about Epic Loans

Tax Credits for Solar Investments

Solar electric systems (including battery storage charged by solar) are eligible for the 30% federal investment tax credit if placed in service before the end of 2032. It will decrease to 26% for systems installed in 2033 and to 22% for systems installed in 2034. The tax credit expires starting in 2035, unless Congress renews it. For details, see the Homeowner’s Guide to the Federal Tax Credit for Solar Photovoltaics.

Customers may file IRS Form 5695 Residential Energy Credit for costs in the most recent calendar year related to solar PV installation, including batteries charged by the solar PV array. No forms or information are required from Fort Collins Utilities to complete this filing. Carryover costs from the prior year are also documented using this form. 

Net Metering Bill Credits#

Understanding Net Metering Credits

Understanding Net Metering Credits - Click to Enlarge

When you generate solar power, any energy you don't use immediately flows back into the electric grid. Fort Collins Utilities pays for the energy returned to the grid through net metering credits on your monthly utility bill based on current residential rates.

Your utilities bill only shows credits for the energy that you could not use in your home as it was produced. Only your solar production report from your solar inverter, or your solar provider, tracks all the energy your system produces. Your Fort Collins Utilities electric meter does not track that solar production; it only records the energy you purchase from the grid and the energy you return to the grid. Have a look at this infographic for more information.

Energy credits are allowed to offset other charges on the monthly utility bill. Accumulated bill credits can roll forward to the next month. Installing battery storage is the only way to bank solar energy in your home.

Local Solar Champions#

Family with rooftop solar in front of their home

"Going solar, to us as a family, was very important... we feel like we’re 'walking the walk.' We also have an electric car and we can power our car with the sun from our roof which feels really good." - Christy M.

Person with rooftop solar in front of their home.

"With the City’s ambitious goal of being 100% carbon neutral by 2030 I wanted to do my part and what I could to help the community achieve that." - Abiah S.

Summary of Solar Process#

  1. Educate yourself! Read the 'Getting Started', 'Solar Resources' and 'FAQs' tabs above, for non-biased resources.
  2. Be aware of your financing options. Epic Loans are available for solar and battery storage, with attractive interest rates and payments applied to your Utilities bill.  
  3. Contact at least two Participating Solar Contractors for project estimates. 
  4. Select a contractor and sign a contract. 
  5. Your solar contractor applies for incentives and permits. You must review and sign the application submitted using DocuSign (sent by email). The same application is used regardless of whether or not a project is eligible for incentives. You can monitor the progress of your solar application using PowerClerk. 
  6. Solar contractor pays for building permit and installs your solar PV system. 
  7. City of Fort Collins Building Services inspects for electrical code compliance. 
  8. Fort Collins Utilities inspects equipment and tests functionality; solar PV system is turned on. 
  9. Permission to Operate letter is sent to you. 
  10. Generate solar power and earn credits! 

Did You Know?

Installing an insulation blanket on your water heater helps it perform more efficiently.

Turning off printers, copiers, coffee machines and other equipment at end of day saves energy.

It only takes 12 inches of flowing water to carry off small vehicles. Don’t drive through flood water.