Solar Electric Systems Overview

Requirements for Grid-Interactive Systems

  • An orientation within 30° of due South is best.  Within 60° of South is OK, but energy production can be affected by up to 10%
  • Collector (roof) slope angle of 15° (3:12) to 35° (8:12) is best
  • Sun for at least 6 hours per day on the solar collectors, spring through fall is best.  Winter shade will not affect annual energy production very much
  • Roof should be in good condition – at least 10 years of life remaining


PV system costs vary widely due to many factors, including component types, manufacturer location, current markets, and financial incentives. We design each system to meet your goals, selecting the highest quality components currently available at the best cost. We will meet with you, evaluate your site, and prepare a customized proposal that will help you to reach your goals. Here are some general factors that influence PV system costs:

  • Larger systems cost less per unit of energy produced than smaller systems, providing a higher return on investment
  • High efficiency, energy-dense PV modules will provide more power in a given area, but will increase system cost
  • Tilt-up, ground mounted or pole mounted systems will increase the system cost
  • Battery backup capability, to provide power when the grid is down, will increase the cost, typically by $6k to $12k for a typical household, depending on battery quality and size
  • Annual return on investment (ROI) is based on the value of the solar energy production incentive (net metering) and net cost after Federal Tax Credit. ROI increases over time due to offsetting rising energy costs

Incentives (see our Financial Incentive sheet below for detailed information)

  • Federal Tax Credit is 30% of installed system cost
  • Net metering (offsets your energy usage)
  • PV systems (including all components and labor involved in the installation) are exempt from CO sales tax

Benefits of a PV System

  • Clean, renewable and silent energy source producing no emissions or greenhouse gasses
  • Adds resale value and equity to your home
  • Expected to last 30 to 40 years with little maintenance
  • Reduces your dependency on the power grid, and rising electricity costs
  • Battery back up systems provide power during a power outage

Each year (for each kW rated) the system will offset 2,500 lbs of CO2, 5.9 lbs of NOX and 13.6 lbs of SO4, which is equivalent to planting a ½ acre of trees!

Financial Incentives for Renewable Energy:


Residential & Business

  • 30% tax credit for the purchase and installation of solar electric (photovoltaic, or “PV”) system
  • 30% tax credit for the purchase and installation of domestic solar hot water (SWH) systems
  • Solar pool heating does not qualify for this credit
  • 30% tax credit for the purchase and installation of wind power system
  • 30% tax credit for the purchase and installation of geothermal heat pumps

Credits are taken for each system separately, so it is possible to qualify for several credits.  These credits reduce tax liability. They are not reductions in income. If tax liability in the installation year is less than the credit, the difference can be carried over to succeeding years’ tax liability.

Business Only

PV and SWH systems are 5-year properties for the purpose of depreciation. Further, the depreciation basis for solar PV is only reduced by half of the federal tax credit. A business that installs a solar thermal or PV system (or both) gets a tax credit of 30% and can also depreceiate 85% of the cost of the system.

USDA REAP is a grant and loan guarantee program for renewable energy systems, energy efficiency improvements, and feasibility studies. Rural small businesses and agricultural producers are eligible to apply. Nonprofits are NOT eligible. This program is paperwork-heavy and funds are awarded competitively. An overview of this program can be found online at:


Sales Tax Exemption

  • PV, SWH and Wind generating system components are exempt from state sales tax
  • All minor components in said renewable energy systems are also exempt from sales tax
  • All labor involved with the design and installation of renewable energy systems are also exempt from state sales tax