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Empower makes solar more affordable

Reducing your electric consumption before going solar results in a smaller-sized system saving you thousands in upfront costs and interest. Bundling solar with pre-solar energy efficiency upgrades can make your solar power generation system more affordable, and help you begin generating savings from day one.

San Isabel Electric’s Empower program can help almost anyone make power more affordable with energy efficiency and energy conservation upgrade projects such as:

  • Whole house & HVLS fans
  • Electric thermal storage heating
  • Water heaters
  • Heat pumps
  • Insulation & air sealing
  • Generators & generator plugs
  • Electric vehicle charging

Empower’s streamlined approach will manage all facets of the project. We use your prior energy usage data and a home energy assessment to identify energy efficiency or conservation projects that suit your lifestyle and budget. We can also help oversee product selection, contractor selection, financing, permitting, installation, inspection, even maintenance if needed years down the road. On-bill financing is also available. Empower offers low interest, long- and short-term financing options for your energy efficiency projects.

There is no extra cost to utilize the Empower program to oversee your energy efficiency or conservation improvements, even if you don’t buy electricity from San Isabel Electric. San Isabel Electric’s board members feel everyone should have an opportunity to be more energy efficient and save money.

Tying Solar into the Electric Grid

Most solar systems are connected to the electric grid. These systems are called “grid-tied”, meaning that electricity can flow to and from the grid.

When your solar array generates more power than your home needs, the excess is sent out onto the electric grid, where it is used nearby. Likewise, when your solar array isn’t producing enough electricity to meet your needs, you’re able to consume electricity from the electric grid. This is called net metering.

Net metering policies make compensation for your solar electricity production possible, allowing you to offset all or part of your electric consumption with that production. In Colorado, net metering allows for a one-to-one credit of your solar electric production against your energy consumption from the electric grid.

Your bill and Net Metering

Your bill will still come to you on a monthly basis and can be paid by all the standard means. Your new bill will reflect several key things:

1. Generation – How much your solar system put back on to the SIEA grid above what your residence has consumed. This will not reflect the same generation on your solar monitoring system provided by your solar company.
2. Consumption – How many kWh your residence used from SIEA grid
3. Bank – This is like your energy savings account. Your monthly invoice will show how much energy you have generated in excess of how much you have consumed, referred to as the “Net”. Your invoice shows your bank balance at the beginning of the month and the end of the month. Banked energy is used before any consumption is added to your bill. If consumption is higher than generation, you are charged for any energy that you used but did not generate. If generation is higher than consumption, your bank balance will grow. Your bank rolls over month-to-month, until May. If you have more than $20 worth of energy in your bank at the end of the April billing period, we’ll send you a check in May. If you have less than $20 in your bank, you will receive a credit on your bill.
4. Access Charge – Part of being tied into the electric grid means you’ll still have access to electricity even when the sun isn’t shining. If there is a power outage, a crew will be dispatched to fix the problem with no additional charges to you. The access charge covers your access to the grid and our costs to operate and maintain the system. The access charge is unavoidable by any excess generation.

For Members

SIEA has a full Net Metering program available to its membership and highly encourages its members to call SIEA first to make sure they are getting the facts about renewables before installation.

ONE-TO-ONE CREDIT

The electricity you produce is equal in value to the electricity you receive from SIEA. If your solar array produces one kWh of electricity, you can directly reduce your electric bill by one kWh. If that kWh of solar electricity is generated when you don’t need it, it will be stored in your SIEA kWh bank and rolled over month to month. Your consumption will always be used out of your kWh bank first and is cashed out yearly in May at current SIEA avoided costs. If you have any questions, please email empower@siea.com or call 719-647-6250.

THINGS TO CONSIDER
  • Renewables like solar have to be considered a long-term investment because it is a costly investment that has a usual 10–15-year R.O.I. (Return On Investment).
  • What your system produces will always be consumed by your house first and only excess generation will go back onto the SIEA grid and credited in your kWh bank.
  • Renewable energy is a rapidly evolving industry. As technology advances so will SIEA—always be prepared and stay in touch with SIEA.
NET METERING PROCESS
  1. Your installer will submit the preliminary interconnection paperwork via the online net metering application on your behalf and SIEA will make sure the size and location of the solar array is appropriate based on the last 12-months of usage at your location.
  2. SIEA will reach out to you to discuss the Net Metering Agreement, which must be signed prior to a meter exchange once the final inspection notice is received.
  3. Once the solar array is installed, an inspection will take place by the appropriate government entity, either local or state, and SIEA will be notified.
  4. Interconnection will take place after all appropriate paperwork has been signed and submitted to SIEA. This is in the form of a meter exchange to install a two-way meter (net meter), which allows for a more accurate reading and reporting of your solar electricity production.
  5. Once the net meter is installed, your installer will be contacted by SIEA to give “formal permission to operate” and your solar array can be turned on.

For Contractors

1.  System capacity is limited to 10 kW AC or 120%, whichever is larger, nameplate for residential.

2. System capacity is limited to 25 kW AC or 120%, whichever is larger, nameplate for commercial.

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For more information

call Empower at 719-647-6250.