In the August 14 Times-Call there was an article titled “Let it shine” about the recently installed solar power system at the Boulder County Courthouse. This is the photovoltaic variety that turns sunlight into electricity, not the kind used for hot water heaters that heats up a fluid that in turn heats the tank. I’ve looked into both types and found them fairly expensive and would lead to a lot of panels on my roof. Something I’m sure my homeowners association would look sideways at.
This system in Boulder cost $83,500 for 46 panels, that’s a lot of panels, but that’s not really a bad price. The article said this array could provide power for 5 2,000 square foot homes. Well, that seems like a stretch. Extrapolating what they paid, that means I could power my home for $16,700, from my own past research I can tell you that number is a little low. No, a lot low. Triple it and you’re getting warm.
The possibility of a backwards running electrical meter is enticing, but the payback usually takes several years. To make it a little more bearable, Xcel Energy provides rebates for up to half of the cost, that’s huge. Ahh, but here’s the rub: If you live in Longmont, forget about that rebate. When looking into this I spoke to both Xcel and Longmont Power, they both verified Longmont residents who get power from Longmont Power are not eligible for this great deal. Yet the City of Boulder is?
I think what Boulder did was great with a pretty sweet incentive from Xcel. I hope this, and the Times-Call article, bring attention to this policy in Longmont and the city makes this energy saving technology more attractive to its residents. Now, are these two companies who installed this (Namaste Solar and Independent Power Systems) going to match that price (extrapolated of course for home size) for us non-government entities?