Gunnison County Electric Association (GCEA) is committed to helping our members find affordable, reliable and safe energy options. We make solar simple, helping you evaluate the risks and benefits of rooftop solar and finding a solution that is right for you.
Q: Is rooftop solar a good option for me?
Whether and how much you will benefit from a residential solar array depends on …
- how much you pay for electricity
- how much electricity you use
- your roof
- federal, state and local incentives for solar development
- your solar installer
At GCEA, we can help answer many of these questions.
Q: Is my house suitable for a rooftop solar array?
- Does your roof face south or west and is it shaded?
- Will you need to replace your roof sometime during the life of the panels? If so, you should replace your roof first.
- Have you explored all of your energy efficiency options? (It doesn’t make sense to purchase more solar than you need!) We can help you reduce your energy use and right-size your array.
- Does your community have restrictions?
Q: Can I still get the benefits of solar if I don’t live in a house or if my house isn’t suitable?
At GCEA, we have developed a community solar project to make the benefits of solar available to anyone who wants to participate. Benefits include:
- Available to all (See Cooperative Principle No. 1 – voluntary and open membership!)
- Optimal siting for maximum efficiency
- Co-op assumes all responsibility and liability for the system
- For additional information, see: http://gcea.coop/content/community-solar-garden
Q: Will solar panels provide electricity in the event of an outage?
Without a battery and a smart inverter, most solar arrays do not provide power during outages.
Q: What should I know before I sign a contract?
A: If you are purchasing a rooftop solar array, be sure to ask…
- What is the total installed (turnkey) cost of the system?
- What is the payback period? What are the assumptions underlying that estimate?
- Will I need to finance the array?
- Who gets the tax credits (the “renewable energy credit”)?
- Will I receive “free” electricity once panels are paid for?
- Does the company offer warranties on panels AND inverters?
- What are the details of the service contract?
A: If you are leasing panels in a rooftop array, be sure to ask …
- What is the upfront cost of the system?
- Are there other customers in the vicinity with comparable systems? How much electricity are their systems producing?
- Who gets the tax benefit (the “renewable energy credit”)
- Can the lease be transferred if I sell the house?
- Does the lease company have the right to run a credit check?
Q: As a consumer, how can I protect myself and my investment?
A: Do your research.
When you make the decision to invest in residential solar, you are making a significant financial investment. Be sure to do your research on the company.
- Are the installers North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP) Solar Photovoltaic (PV) Electric trained and certified?
- When was your company established and how much solar has it installed to date?
- Can your company provide a list of the projects and references for them?
- Are you accredited with the Better Business Bureau? If so, what is your rating?