SOLAR NEWSWe love to engage with our community, and provide solutions to work towards a sustainable future.
So you have brand new solar panels on your roof and you’re generating your own electricity. Your power bills are basically eliminated at this point, and you’re feeling pretty good about your impact on the environment. But, one stormy night, the wind knocks over a huge tree and the power goes out on your entire block. Now you’re stuck without power because you’re relying on the grid to power your home.
What can you do to avoid this? Invest in solar battery backup! Combining solar panels and backup battery storage allows you to have independence from the power grid and store any unused power generated by your solar system for later use. Battery backup power offers the same functions as conventional generators without the need for refueling. Plus, it’s a lot more eco-friendly.
How Long Will Solar Battery Backup Help During a Power Outage?
Solar battery backup can add a level of resilience to your home to keep the lights on, the internet running, and the fridge cold at night during power outages. Your solar battery will be charged and store excess energy during the day to allow you to use and discharge the power at night. As long as you have enough battery storage capacity, you can power your home like this through long power outages.
Sandbox Solar has the expertise to install the right battery storage option for your home. We offer three different types of battery and can help you decide on the proper one, depending on how much power you need.
Here are the battery options that we offer:
- LG Chem Solar Battery: This battery features industry-leading 5kW continuous power. LG Chem offers improved energy efficiency and is sized for day-to-day use for your home. This is the best bang for the buck home battery on the market, and we highly recommend it.
- Enphase Encharge: The Enphase Encharge battery is smart, reliable, simple, and safe. It has a total usable energy capacity of 3.36 kWh. The best part is that you can add more batteries to it and expand your system very easily.
- Generac PWRcell: This battery storage system is one of the most powerful on the market. It can provide up to 9kW of continuous backup power for your home’s essential power needs. A single PWRcell battery can provide enough power to back up large appliances like air conditioners and well pumps. We love this solution for mountain cabins and frequent outages.
Curious about solar battery backup for your home and gaining independence from the grid? Contact us today! We’ll help you design a system that works best for your home and needs, so you can be prepared for any situation.
Usually, the first question a homeowner has when deciding to invest in solar is “When will I see a return?” With the increased popularity of solar, there is a great deal of data out there to show the return on investment (ROI) of installing in a solar system. Colorado solar panels are investments with strong rates of return. Homeowners can generate electricity through their solar panels and avoid ever-increasing utility rates by eliminating their electricity bills. Having solar panels on your home also increases the value of your property.
When can I see an ROI on my Colorado solar panels?
In the U.S., the typical ROI period is about 8 years. For example, if the cost of installing solar on your home is $16,000 and your system is going to save you $2,000 per year on energy bills, your break-even point will be 8 years. The break-even point can be different for every homeowner because of several factors.
When you are deciding on a company to install your solar panels, you should compare the payback period for multiple quotes. That way, you can identify when your solar investment will begin earning you money.
Here are a few circumstances that determine how long it will take to see a return on your solar investment:
- The Upfront Cost – The cost of solar panels depends on the size and type of panels. Sandbox Solar provides free estimates for all of our clients. We will help you determine the cost of your system based on the type of panels you need and the size of your home. The good news is that the cost of solar continues to decrease with its popularity. Sandbox Solar also provides customized systems and financing options, which can help reduce your overall cost.
- Monthly Electrical Use and Generation – The size of the solar system you need will depend on the monthly amount of electricity you consume. Once you know how much you consume, you can figure out how much of that you can offset each month with solar. The higher your electricity bills are, the shorter your estimated ROI period will be, because you can reduce or eliminate this bill as soon as your panels are up and running. It’s also important to keep in mind that the size of your roof and where you live can determine how much electricity your solar panels will produce. Sandbox Solar will help you determine the right solar system for your roof size, location, and energy consumption.
- Financial Incentives – At Sandbox Solar, we will find the rebates you may qualify for and the best financing options for your situation. Colorado solar panels can be more affordable if you utilize tax breaks and rebates to dramatically reduce the cost. For instance, the federal solar investment tax credit (ITC) allows you to deduct 26% of the cost of your system from your taxes. And Colorado has some of the best solar rebates and incentives in the country. We have been installing solar panels in Colorado for years, so we can help you understand the rebates and incentives you qualify for.
If you want to learn more about solar and get a free quote for your project, contact us today! Investing in Colorado solar panels can be your first step toward achieving your energy goals. It’s a great investment opportunity to offset energy costs, reduce the environmental impact of your home, and contribute to a sustainable future.
When shopping for a big investment like solar, it’s important to check multiple options and prices. Every Colorado solar installer is different in the services they offer, the equipment they use, and pricing. At Sandbox Solar, we offer the best products and services at a competitive price.
If you are approached to buy solar, use a comparison-shopping method before you buy, so you can be aware of all of the options available.
Here are a few things you should look for in Colorado solar installers:
- Do they offer a free quote – A free quote is a great way to get an estimate on what the cost of your project will look like. Try to get multiple quotes before you commit to one installation company. At Sandbox Solar, we offer free quotes and will also evaluate your energy rates for free! Just fill out this contact form to get started.
- Compare financing options – There are several financing options available when investing in solar, including home equity loans and Power Purchase Agreements (PPA). Some Colorado solar installers might offer their own loans, or you can get one from your bank. When you invest in solar, you want to work with a company that knows exactly what they are doing on both the install and financial side. At Sandbox Solar, we’re experts on the regional tax credits and incentives you can apply for once you have your new solar system. Ask your realtor on the saleability of a house with a lease on your roof!
- Equipment choices – There are many different brands and models of solar panels available. Each panel will have different specifications related to design, size, efficiency, durability, and warranty. The Colorado solar installer you choose should provide you with personalized quotes that will show the best value for your home. When it comes to equipment and cost, the cheapest deal isn’t always the best deal. Local providers can offer you a more customized solar system, which can reduce your overall cost and give you a better system for your needs. Sandbox Solar utilizes the highest-quality design tools and components to give you the best installation possible. We have been providing solar for years and can create a system and installation type that works best for the region’s climate.
- Colorado Solar Installer Reviews – Check the reviews! They can be a good indicator of how the company works with its customers. In general, local solar companies get higher ratings than larger solar companies, because they are members of the community and care about doing the best job possible. You can read our Google reviews here.
When trying to decide on a Colorado solar installer, it’s important to pay attention to all of these things. Always compare multiple options to ensure that you are getting the best option and value for your project. When you work with Sandbox Solar, we will help you choose the best equipment and financing options for your project. If you have questions, don’t hesitate to contact the Sandbox Solar team today for a free quote!
Sandbox Solar, your Colorado solar company, has had the opportunity to work on an incredible project to bring the City of Fort Collins closer to its sustainability goals. We are excited to announce that we have completed the 200 kW ground mount for the Waterglen Project in northeast Fort Collins!
This project was 100% locally done, with 18 local employees making it happen. It was a difficult journey to find the right space to develop solar in Fort Collins, and this project was a big step for Sandbox Solar.
Why Did We Begin this Project?
The goal of this project was to advance Fort Collins further toward a sustainable future and its goal of 100% renewable by 2030. If we want more solar in Fort Collins, our community needs to rethink how it views, plans, and permits solar projects. It has been difficult to develop solar in Fort Collins because of the lack of affordable space, and this project demonstrates how, with limited space, you can still successfully meet safety, zoning, and other requirements. We encourage neighbors to identify community open spaces where solar can be deployed such as flood plain areas, detention areas, parking lots, etc. We implore the City Council to audit and reevaluate the planning and development process for solar projects. As it stands, a small-scale solar development is treated the same way as a large apartment building. The length of time and the cost to deploy projects like these are too much and we will never achieve our renewable goal.
One method Sandbox Solar has been exploring is to combine solar and agriculture to save space. This unique pairing is similar to our work with Colorado State University’s ARDEC, where we planted crops under solar panels and then monitored their growth. This will provide local food and renewable energy for our communities.
As your local solar company in Fort Collins, the Waterglen Solar Project was a big step for us. It allowed us to showcase our engineering, development, and construction abilities that enable us to take on projects of all sizes.
How Does this Project Benefit Fort Collins?
This 200 kW array will provide enough energy for approximately forty homes. The power generated by these solar panels is specifically for the City of Fort Collins and will help the city move toward its sustainability goals.
We also ensured that the solar system would easily co-inhabit the space with the area’s native plants. This way there is a natural habitat for the native species, including bees and rabbits, without disruption.
There will also be wildflowers, shrubs, trees, and grass planted throughout areas to restore the natural habitat.
What Have We Learned About Colorado Solar?
The array demonstrates what can happen when the community supports the development of solar energy on unique and abstract parcels of land. Without community support, Fort Collins will not be able to obtain its Climate Action Plan goals.
A lot of the places where we could develop solar in the future include floodplain areas. Through the Waterglen Project, we have demonstrated that solar energy has minimal development impact in floodplain areas and neighborhoods.
Sandbox Solar, your Fort Collins solar company, is committed to fostering local community involvement with solar energy and continuing to provide the opportunity for more solar energy research. With projects like Waterglen, we can work toward providing even more economic benefits to the community, support renewable energy, and enable optimal land use in Fort Collins. Contact us with any questions or feedback about our Waterglen project.
Looking for a top-rated Colorado Solar Company to help you with your solar project for your home or business? Look no further than Sandbox Solar! We’re a highly rated, expert solar company serving Fort Collins, Greeley, Denver, and beyond. Sandbox Solar is considered by many of our customers to be the best solar company in Northern Colorado.
Here’s what some of our customers have to say about working with us:
They love working with us because:
- We’re an experienced Colorado solar company: Experience is one of the most important factors when it comes to your solar project. Our co-founder Ian has worked on LEED projects creating energy-efficient and energy-producing commercial buildings. He also has experience in photovoltaic and energy-efficiency project development. Our other co-founder Andrew has been involved in renewable energy since 2008 and has worked for world leaders in solar energy development and integration. Our team is highly skilled and trained to complete your project safely and effectively.
- We offer multiple services: At Sandbox Solar, we offer residential and business solar installation, repair, and maintenance. We also offer solar battery and electric vehicle charger installation for you. And if you are ever doing a roof repair, we can help you with the removal of your solar panels and the reinstallation. Our goal is to provide opportunities for anyone to get involved in solar energy and receive the environmental and financial benefits of energy generation.
- You’ll get a full-service project from us: At Sandbox Solar, we are with you every step of the way through your entire solar project. We will help you through the design, development, and installation of solar panels at your home or business. We use the highest-quality design tools and components for the best end result. Sandbox Solar aims to provide you with a project that makes sense for you, your home or business, and your energy goals. If you have any questions, we are here to answer them! You will never have to go through a customer service department.
- We help figure out the financials: Solar can be expensive, and figuring out how to pay for the system can be overwhelming. We are here to help guide you through the financial side of things. We can help you determine which route – leasing, loans, or power purchase agreements – makes the most sense for you and your solar investment. We also know the federal and local tax incentives that you might qualify for to reduce the overall cost of your system. Lastly, when you work with us, we will design the perfect system that fits your needs. With a customized system, we can often reduce your overall cost, because you’re not paying for extra panels that you don’t need.
If you’re in need of a professional Colorado solar company to help you install a solar system, contact Sandbox Solar! We’re happy that so many of our customers love working with us and have helped make us a top-rated company in Northern Colorado. We would love to discuss your project and provide you a free quote! Contact us today to learn more about our services.
Not all things in life are certain. But one thing we know for sure is that the sun will always shine! That’s why big investments like solar in Colorado are a safe bet. Solar energy is a safe investment because there is little risk involved. Putting your dollars into a solar system will safely earn you money in the long run. And you get bonus points for helping make the Earth a better place. Here are several reasons why solar in Colorado is a safe investment:
- It’s low risk – The sun is the Earth’s most abundant source of energy. It radiates enough energy every hour to fulfill the planet’s power needs for an entire year. We all know that the sun will continue to shine. Why not take advantage of it? If you compare investing in solar to investing in stocks, there’s no competition. When you invest in stocks, you’re betting on the success of the company, its employees, and many other factors. It’s definitely not as reliable an investment.
- Solar power is a proven and reliable energy source – Solar panels have proven their reliability after being around for a long time. Solar power systems utilize relatively simple technology with few moving parts. There’s not a lot of room for error, they’re durable, and they require little maintenance. Solar in Colorado withstands all of our weather and continues to produce electricity even in winter. Most solar systems come with 20- to 25- year warranties, and solar companies typically have installation warranties, as well, to cover anything that might need to be replaced.
- It saves you money on your electricity bill – When you invest in solar, you’re trading the electricity you purchase from the utility company for free electricity that your solar panels will produce. Essentially you’re “making money” by not having to pay an electric bill. By using solar energy, you’re also reducing an ongoing future expense. With the costs of fossil fuels rising and the price of installing solar continuing to fall, solar is becoming a more attractive investment option.
- Great payback periods and ROIs – The good news is that your solar system will start generating free electricity the day that it is turned on. The money you save from the free electricity your solar generates will pay for the installation after several years. The typical ROI period in the U.S. is about 8 years. The payback period can be different for every homeowner, depending on upfront costs, electrical use and generation, and how you finance your solar system.
Ready to invest in solar? Contact Sandbox Solar for a free quote! We have top-notch experience and have been installing solar in Colorado for years along the Front Range. We have helped homeowners and business owners work toward energy independence and achieve their energy goals. We can help you too!
You’ve decided to go solar. Congrats! You’re making a big step toward increasing the value of your home, saving the environment, and cutting your electric bill. With solar becoming more and more popular, there is an endless supply of companies to choose from when considering adding solar to your home or business.
You can choose to work with a larger, corporate company or invest in your community with a local solar company. We’d like to share with you the reasons why supporting your local solar installer is a win-win.
4 reasons why a local solar company is a perfect choice:
- We Give Back – At Sandbox Solar, everyone – from the owners to the installers – calls Northern Colorado home. We love supporting our local community and fostering community involvement with solar energy. For the last several years, we have worked with Colorado State University studying agrivoltaics and Colorado solar. We are using this research to see how well agriculture and solar can coexist. Our goal is to create a business model where we will be able to simultaneously grow food and generate renewable energy for Fort Collins and across Colorado. In a recent collaboration with The Growing Project, we donated a 600W, two-panel solar array for the garden in The FoCo Commons. The solar panels power a USB outlet for phone chargers and other devices for anyone in need. It is also designed to educate the community about the potential of agrivoltaics.
- Your Investment Keeps Money Local – Investing in a local solar company means that your money stays right here in Northern Colorado. Utilizing a local solar company helps foster local economic growth. We’re proud to continue the cycle by shopping local, supporting local nonprofits, and partnering with other local contractors to strengthen Colorado’s economy.
- It’s a Partnership – When you invest with a local solar company, it’s not just a transaction, it’s a partnership. Every installation is just as much an investment for us as it is for you, the customer. We’ll help you understand the ins and outs of your solar system so you know how it works and what you are gaining. After installation, we are always available for questions and further assistance.
- Local Insight – When you invest in a solar system, it’s important to work with a company that knows both the installation and financial side of solar. At Sandbox Solar, we have been providing solar for years, which means that not only are we well versed in which systems and install types work best for our climate, but we’re also experts on the federal, state, and local tax credits and incentives you can apply for with your solar system.
Ready to choose a local solar company to do your project? Contact Sandbox Solar, your local solar installer in Northern Colorado. We can provide you a free quote for your project and help you design and install a system that meets your specific goals.
Despite this year’s challenges, Sandbox Solar in Fort Collins has continued to bring solar to the local community. We’ve been busy adding new services, finishing up projects around Northern Colorado, and partnering with the community to provide solar to more people. Check out what we’ve been up to:
New Service: EV Chargers
We have a new addition to our services at Sandbox Solar: We are now installing EV chargers! Driving an electric vehicle has many benefits, and having an EV charger at home makes it easier to switch to a greener transportation option. Learn more about the benefits of electric vehicles here.
Community Project: The Growing Project
We’re incredibly proud to have partnered with The Growing Project to install a 600W, two-panel solar array for their garden located in The FoCo Commons area at the FoCo Cafe.
This system powers a USB outlet for phone chargers and the like for anyone in need. The panel is also designed to further education about the ways in which solar energy and agriculture can coexist.
The Growing Project’s mission is to promote an environmentally and socially just local food system through direct agricultural experiences, education, economic opportunities, and advocacy. They do this through community gardens and youth education. One of their gardens in the FoCo Commons produces crops used by food establishments in the area, gives the community a place to learn more about local food production, and is a sanctuary for all to enjoy.
Learn more about our project here.
Project Updates: CSU ARDEC Project with Sandbox Solar in Fort Collins
This is Sandbox Solar’s third year studying agrivoltaics at Colorado State University’s ARDEC South. We have gotten amazing results and discovered that agriculture and solar can indeed coexist! Our goal is to create a business model where we will be able to grow food and renewable energy for Fort Collins and across Colorado. Learn more about the latest project updates here.
We also had the pleasure of being a part of the CSU Specialty Crops Program’s virtual field day. Learn more about the solar panels and arrays we have installed for the project by watching the virtual field day video here.
Project Update: L’Avenir Zero Net Living
Sandbox Solar in Fort Collins had the opportunity to work on an amazing project to provide net-zero living in downtown Fort Collins. The building is fully powered by the sun’s energy and geothermal wells. Learn more.
In the News: BizWest Mercury 100
We are grateful to have been chosen to be in the Mercury 100 by BizWest as one of Northern Colorado’s fastest growing companies!
In the News: NOCO Style’s Top 30 Under 30 and Top Solar Installer
Our co-founder Ian Skor was chosen as one of NOCO Style’s Top 30 Under 30! All nominees have made an impact in business or community in Northern Colorado. Ian was chosen for the impact that Sandbox Solar has created in the community through renewable energy! You can read more here.
Sandbox Solar was also nominated as NOCO Style’s top Solar Installer of 2020!
Sandbox Solar in Fort Collins is always looking for ways to provide opportunities for anyone to get involved with solar energy. Keep up with us by signing up for our monthly newsletter! Have a project that you would like our help on? Contact us today with any questions or for a free quote.
Sandbox Solar wants to remind you that Fort Collins Time-of-Day pricing switched again. Peak hours are now back to non-summer hours: from 5 to 9 pm on weekdays. It will cost you 70% less to use energy during non-peak hours compared to peak hours. In this blog, we will explain how Fort Collins TOD pricing can affect your electric bill and how you can save with solar:
Image Source: City of Fort Collins Government
Fort Collins Time-of-Day Pricing Peak Hours
In the summer months, peak hours are from 2 to 7 pm, and in the non-summer months, peak hours are 5 to 9 pm. Until April, the Fort Collins Time-of-Day pricing will be back to non-summer peak hours. The electricity you use during peak hours is much more costly, and it encourages you to avoid utilizing major appliances during peak hours.
With TOD, you pay for your electricity based on the time of day, day of the week, and season. Peak hours cost 21.95¢/kWh, whereas off-peak hours will cost you 7.10¢/kWh.
For many homeowners in Fort Collins, TOD pricing can be very expensive. That’s where we come in! You can avoid the extra cost of electricity during peak hours by investing in solar.
Tips to Avoid TOD Pricing
Things you should avoid using during peak hours include dryers, ovens, space heaters, water heaters, dishwashers, and microwaves. These appliances use the most electricity in your home. Find out what it costs to run electronics and common household appliances here.
It helps to plan your energy use for times when you’ll be paying less! If you need some help, check out our free home energy guide to learn how to reduce your monthly energy payments.
Here are a few tips to avoid TOD pricing:
- Save about 50¢ per load by drying your laundry during off-peak hours. If you can, line-dry your clothing whenever possible to save more money.
- Run your dishwasher in the morning, after 9 pm, or on weekends to avoid peak hours.
- Incorporate stove-free dinners into your week when you can! Use slow cookers, a grill, or add in a few cold meals.
- Manage the shades in your home to maximize sun coming in and help your home feel warmer throughout the day.
One of the best ways to save money on utility costs in the City of Fort Collins is by installing a solar system on your home. Solar panels can generate the energy needed to power your home instead of drawing power from the grid. With solar panels, you will feel free to use your appliances regardless of the time of day. Plus, Fort Collins Time-of-Day costs will be increasing again in 2021, so now is the perfect time to invest in solar for your home!
Want to avoid an increase in your electricity costs due to Fort Collins Time-of-Day pricing? Let’s chat! Electricity costs are going to continue to increase over time. We have helped many Fort Collins residents eliminate their electricity bills by generating their own power, and we would love to help you, too! Contact Sandbox Solar today for a free quote or to learn more about solar and Fort Collins Time-of-Day pricing.
Sandbox Solar has been working with Colorado State University’s Agricultural Research, Development, and Education Center (ARDEC) for the last three years on an agricultural research project to combine Colorado solar and crops. Through our research, we have learned what’s possible in Northern Colorado with agrivoltaics and plan to continue expanding in Colorado and beyond. Check out the videos below to learn about the Specialty Crops Program projects at ARDEC.
Specialty Crops Virtual Field Day
Colorado State University’s Specialty Crops Program held a virtual field day to give an update on the projects and demonstrations they have been doing at ARDEC. ARDEC is CSU’s research farm just north of Fort Collins, where they conduct agricultural research and demonstration projects.
See the video below for an introduction to the Specialty Crops Virtual Field Day.
You can watch all of the project video updates here.
Agrivoltaics with Sandbox Solar
This is Sandbox Solar’s third year studying agrivoltaics and Colorado solar at ARDEC. We are encouraged by our research, which has shown that agriculture and solar can coexist. Our goal is to create a business model where we will be able to simultaneously grow food and generate renewable energy for Fort Collins and across Colorado.
Researching and fully understanding Colorado solar and agrivoltaics is extremely important for us to be able to move forward with our climate and clean energy goals. We have found that there is enough suitable land in Colorado for agrivoltaics to cover 650,000 acres. This would allow us to create more clean energy through solar while still utilizing land for farmers.
Learn more about the solar panels and arrays we have installed for the project by watching the video below.
We are working on allowing the perfect combination of shade and light to come through our solar panels to provide the crops with the ideal amount of sunlight throughout the day. The panels need to be able to generate enough electricity and power while providing enough light for crops to grow. We have found that some shade benefits certain crops because Colorado offers more sun than those crops actually need. For example, leafy greens and cool-weather crops do better under the semi-transparent panels, while peppers and tomatoes do better under more transparent panels.
One notable aspect of this project is that it is a fully replicated experiment with three replications, so our results are scientifically sound. We are the only site in Colorado and the U.S. studying vegetable crops under multiple panel types and transparencies. We look forward to seeing the use of agrivoltaics continue to grow in the future.
Sandbox Solar, your local Colorado solar provider, is committed to increasing clean energy production for all of Northern Colorado. Our intention is for solar and agriculture to coexist, allowing us to effectively use our land in Colorado. There is so much opportunity for agricultural solar and solar research, and we’re excited to continue to learn more with this project. Stay tuned for more updates about our project with CSU’s ARDEC, and feel free to contact us with any questions or feedback about this study.
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