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What size solar system do I need?

Shaw Solar uses three basic criteria to recommend a system size: your annual power consumption, which can be obtained from LPEA or a recent utility bill; your available roof space; and ultimately your available budget.Where you live, how you live, and how you heat your water and house will also dictate the size of your system and its total cost.

For reference, a 5 kW (5,000 Watt) system meets the needs of the average home, which is approximately 15 solar panels.

Who handles the permits and rebate paperwork?

We do. All of it. And since we've partnered with several solar loan providers, we assist with the loan acquisition process as well. 

How long will it take to reach payback?

In terms of rebates and incentives, there has never been a better time to go solar. Each system will have a different payback period, as ROI depends on a number of variables but typically, residential systems have a payback period of approximately 8 years depending on location and size. Commercial systems usually have a payback period of 4 to 7 years.

Is there any system maintenance required?

Since there are few moving parts, the solar systems are basically maintenance free. However, to improve output, it is always better if they are kept clean.

How long will my solar system last?

Solar panels (or PV modules as we say in the biz) last a long, long time. The modules we install come with a 25-year power warranty! No bad considering the payback period on the system is roughly only 8 years. Plus, most solar systems have monitoring synced to it which allows you to track the health and performance of your system over time. In the end, we don’t know how long the panels will last, as the oldest terrestrial modules are over 45-years old and still going strong.

Can a homeowner sell power back to their utility?

Yes, through LPEA’s net metering agreements, any excess electricity generated will spin your meter backwards, which has the effect of selling your excess power to the utility for use at a later time. In short – if you use more power than your solar array produces, you will be buying power from LPEA. If your array produces more than you use, LPEA will buy your excess power. 

What happens when it snows?

Immediately after a snow storm, when your solar panels are covered, they won’t produce power. But because snow slides easily off solar panels and they are installed where there’s the most sun, the snow that covers your panels will melt first. This means that your solar panels will be exposed to light again relatively quickly, allowing them to produce electricity. The reflection off the white snow surrounding the panels may even increase how much power your system produces via the albedo effect. Here in Southwest Colorado, we engineer all our systems to support the snow loads expected in their given application.

Will solar increase my property value?

Yes. According to real estate appraisers, for every $1 of electricity that you offset through solar, it will increase the value of your home by $20. This means that your home would increase in value by about the total net cost of the system after rebates. As an example, a 4 kW system will offset about $805 of electricity costs in a year based on LPEA’s rate in the City of Durango of $0.141/kWh. Using the “each $1 saved in electricity costs increases a homes value by $20” guideline, then we could be looking at a home’s value increase of around $16,100. Studies also show that homes with solar panel systems have property values 3-4% above similar homes in the same area. They also sell twice as fast as the competition. In addition, this increase in value is exempt from property tax.