SandBox Solar: Solar Energy News

Stay up to date with our latest projects and learn about the benefits of going solar in Colorado. Our solar energy consultants will post pictures and stories of our work in Fort Collins, Greeley, and around the Front Range. We'll also provide insights into the renewable energy industry.

10 Important Facts About Solar

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Solar has made a big name for itself in recent years; the falling cost of solar panels, coupled with widespread news coverage, has left many homeowners considering an investment in solar. Sandbox Solar is your local, Northern Colorado solar partner, and we’re here to give you all the information you need about solar to help you make an informed choice. It’s a big decision, we know, which is why we’ve compiled these interesting facts about solar you may not have considered:

(1) Colorado is Known for Our Sunshine:

It might be a bit of a marketing gimmick, but if Colorado is known for anything, it’s our sunshine. Depending on where you live in the state, you will be able to enjoy, on average, well over 200 days of sun per year. In Northern Colorado, you can expect upwards of 300 days! All this sunlight is great for one thing in particular: solar! It’s not bad for patio-sitting and outdoor activities either.

(2) Don’t Worry About Cloudy Days:
Even if it is sometimes cloudy and snowy in Colorado, you’ll ‘bank’ the extra energy your panels create on your energy bill; sunny days will offset any cloudy days.

(3) Solar is GREEN:
Solar energy is a free and abundant source of power once you have the panels installed. You can drastically reduce carbon emissions choosing solar, and together we can have a big impact on the planet.

(4) Solar Panels are Low-Maintenance:
Once solar panels have been installed on your home or commercial business, you can rest assured that your panels won’t give you many headaches. The batteries do not require any water and need very little upkeep. On average, solar panels are functional for as many as 25 years, meaning you will benefit from their energy for years to come.

(5) Solar has Room to Grow:
If we were to power the entire Earth on solar panels alone, we would need to build more than 191,000 square miles solar panels. Earth has more than 57 million miles of land, so we should be able to find a place to put them. To date, solar panels account for very little our energy generation, but we’re hoping that changes in the coming years.

(6 )Solar Energy is Not New:

In fact, it’s been around for well over 2,700 years. Glass lenses were once used to make fire, an early form of solar power. The earliest record of harnessing the sun’s power in this way was around 700 B.C.

(7) Solar is Getting Cheaper:
Solar has a reputation for being very costly, but as with any new technology, the cost of solar has dropped significantly and many predict will get even cheaper as time goes on. In fact, it’s now the cheapest to generate power.

(8)Solar Employs Thousands
The solar industry is one of the fastest growing and employs thousands of well-paid employees. As of 2016, more than 360,000 by 2021.

(9)Solar Adds Value:
In addition to helping you save on your energy costs, adding solar to your home can help improve the appraisal value. Buyers in Northern Colorado value homes with solar, and your home should appraise for more with solar than without.

(10) Your Break-Even Point is Coming:
As a Colorado resident, you’ll break even on the cost of your solar panels after, on average, 10-12 years of owning them. That is to say, you will recoup the costs of your solar investment relatively soon and avoid paying electricity bills in the meantime.

If you’re considering solar for your home or business, contact Sandbox Solar! We live and work in Northern Colorado and understand the unique intricacies of solar in Colorado. We’d be happy to give you a free solar estimate help you understand what the addition of solar panels could mean for your building. Don’t hesitate to reach out with any questions!

Homeowners: Best Ways to Pay for a Solar System

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We get it, solar systems are a big investment. Here at Sandbox Solar, we frequently hear, “I want solar, but how do I pay for a solar system?”

While solar is value-add to your home and will pay for the cost of the investment over time, it’s important to understand the different methods to fund your solar investment and determine which will work best for you and your home.

Ways Homeowners Can Pay for Solar

As a homeowner, there are several ways to fund a solar system. Some of the options available to homeowners include:

  • Home Equity Loan: You can secure an additional line of credit based on the value of your home to pay for the solar panels upfront. You will then pay for the loan month by month as part of your mortgage payment.
  • Power Purchase Agreement - This agreement, also known as a PPA is similar to a lease agreement, but instead the power company or city owns the panels, and the homeowner pays for the electricity generated.

Sandbox Solar’s Recommendation
While all of these options are viable for homeowners to get solar on your home, we strongly recommend you fund your solar system through a Home Equity Line Of Credit. This ‘solar loan’ inherently has a significant benefit in giving you direct ownership of your solar asset. While you may pay for the cost of the panels upfront, your solar loan payment will be less than your utility bill, in most cases. But more importantly, owning the panels adds more value to your home than simply leasing a system.

We’ve developed a strong relationship with the local Elevations Credit Union and trust them with our clients’ home solar loans. They will help you determine if a home equity loan is the right move for your solar investment and how it will stack up with your existing mortgage payment and current utility bill.

Don’t forget, there are also many great rebates and tax credits for solar installation on your home or building. Your solar investment may be eligible for a 30% Federal Tax Credit, meaning you can write off 30% of the cost of the install in your income tax bill. The city and your utility may also offer rebates in exchange for Renewable Energy Credits (RECs). These credits allow utility companies to use the extra power generated by your solar panels that your home or building does not need.

Ready to learn more adding solar to your home? Contact Sandbox Solar for more information about residential solar loans and installs. We’ll provide you with a free estimate and help you design a solar system that makes sense for your home and needs. Let’s get started!

Six Benefits of Installing Solar on Your Home or Business

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We get it, solar is a big investment and a scary decision to make. We talk to homeowners and businesses everyday as they mull over whether or not solar makes sense for their building. The benefits of solar adoption vary widely by motivation, location, and needs, but the top reasons to install solar panels include:

(1) Going Green

The obvious and perhaps, most important, reason to consider adding solar to your home or business is to help you live more sustainably. By using solar, you will lessen your dependence on fossil fuels to power your home and reduce your carbon footprint in the process. By moving to solar, you will eliminate as many as four tons of carbon emissions each year. Utilizing solar can go a long way to reduce our effect on the environment.

(2) Reduce Electricity Bills
By having solar panels installed on your home or building, you will likely drastically reduce your monthly electricity bills. In fact, you may even be paid back a small amount each month for your extra energy contributions to the grid. No electricity bills is a huge benefit of adopting solar! Furthermore, by adopting solar, you won’t be subject to the rising cost of electricity; you will lock in your monthly electric rate for the life of the system.

(3) Collect Tax Credits and Rebates
The City of Fort Collins huge rebates for adding solar to your residential or commercial building. The State of Colorado additional incentives and the federal government has other additional rebates you may qualify for by adding solar panels to your home. Solar rebates may be reduced at the end of the year, if you’re considering adding solar to your home - now is the time!

(4) Improve the Value of Your Home
Solar panels can positively affect the value of your home or property, especially in Northern Colorado where green energy is highly-welcomed. As more appraisers and home buyers appreciate the value of solar installations, the added benefit of having solar will only go up.

(5) Energy Independence
We are big believers in promoting local energy independence, or the idea that we do not have to rely on outside energy sources to power our city and industries. The West was built on a sense of self-reliance—your home should exemplify this same spirit!

(6) Support Your Local Economy
By working with Sandbox Solar to purchase and install your home’s solar panels, you’ll be adding to our local economy. Sandbox was started by two local entrepreneurs and we exclusively use local contractors. Together, we’re putting money right back into the local economy, rather than sending it off to huge electricity corporations. And in the solar industry especially, bigger isn’t always better. Partnering with regional solar installers likely going to get you the most bang for your buck.

The Sandbox Solar team is here to partner with you as you consider solar. We have installed solar systems on a significant number of businesses and homes right here in Northern Colorado and we pride ourselves on making solar energy accessible to all to receive the environmental and financial benefits possible through energy generation. From homeowners, businesses, or community solar farm subscribers, we will help you design and implement a solar system that makes sense for you. Please contact us today to learn more about the benefits of adding a solar system to your home home or business. We’re here to answer your questions and help you determine if solar makes sense.

Latest News!

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Event: Green Drinks at CSU Powerhouse!

Sandbox Solar is hosting Green Drinks this month at the CSU Powerhouse. (430 N. College Ave. Fort Collins). Feburary 22nd 530-8p. Free Food and Beer (21+). Donations will go toward The Growing Project. This is a casual event and all are welcome. We will have images of the projects we've completed. The Powerhouse is a CSU owned building that is home to various research centers, policy firms, and startups. More information can be found here.

Event Page.

In The News: Loveland Reporter Herald
Full News Article.

Sandbox Solar is proud to install 2 x LED lights, 1 Wind Turbine, 2 Solar Panels, and a Weather Station for Walt Clark Middle School in Loveland, CO. The project was funded by a grant the students won and they chose this project to represent their desire to continue pursuing STEM Education (Science Technology Engineering Math).

Questions About Solar?
Sandbox Solar is starting a Solar Speaker Series. We will travel around Northern Colorado educating, answering questions, sharing experiences about solar energy. Stay updated on Facebook and email for upcoming events in your area. We also now have a 2 Hour CE Credit Course for Realtors! Our first event will be next Thursday in Greeley at Farr Regional Library from 3:30-5:00pm.

Event Page.

We have uploaded our FAQ to our webpage to educate prospective customers about solar energy.

This Month's Featured Question:

What happens to the solar energy at night?

All energy produced during the day is credited to your through Net Metering. Net Metering allows your meter to roll backwards. Any excess energy is credited back to you, giving you a positive cash flow.

Industry News: Micro-Grids
Last month, we saw representatives from Spirae at Northern Colorado Renewable Energy Society. A monthly gathering at Odell's that presents new technology and produces conversation with the public. A Microgrid platform controls the electric grid through software algorithms. This allows for more reliable and efficient operation of renewable energy, storage, and flexible loads. By controlling these things utilities can control high peak demands. Will the future grid include these Micro-Grids + Wind + Storage + Solar ?!?

February 2, 2017

Solar Outlook in NoCo

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With uncertainty of 2017, there are some things to look forward to in Northern Colorado. The Federal Tax Credit was extended and will continue to be 30% through 2017, Solar Energy Prices are predicted to go below $3.0/Watt for large residential systems, new everyday technology such as lawn lamps are becoming cheaper, and in case you missed it - a Great Article by Jacy from the Coloradoan features: Solar power gaining in Fort Collins.

What kind of influence will the new administration have on Solar?
Solar Energy is becoming a Non-Partisan issue. From our personal experience at Sandbox Solar as well as other influential figures in the community. We have noticed that no matter what your political views are, the sun clearly has everyone's interests. Whether that is energy independence, going green, or financial investments, Solar has everyone playing in the sun. Solar has now employed 77% more workers than the U.S. coal mining industry, and that number continues to exponentially rise. China plans on investing $362 billion in renewable energy, and Elon Musk (CEO of Tesla) has joined Trump's Strategic and Policy Forum. All these factors for us indicate that Trump may not go all in on Renewables, but it may be an even playing field for all energy sources. In which case, let the sun keep shining on solar.

What Would You like to See in our Posts?
As a local advocate for renewable energy, we want to know what you would like to see in our Blog/Newsletters. What are you interested in and what would help you understand the rapid growth and change of our energy infrastructure. Please let us know!

January 6, 2017


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Welcome to the Sandbox Solar news feed! We are a solar installation company that works out of Colorado. We've been taking on projects big and small, helping individuals and businesses adapt to the modern energy world. Solar is a green, affordable, and smart choice when it comes to powering your home or business.

September 16, 2016

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