Renewable Power for the Enlightened

Ice and Snow

The ice and snow that forms on a roof will also form on PV modules,  It is imperative that any PV module selected for use in the high country be rated at a minimum of 113 pounds per square foot of snow loading.  Not all modules meet this requirement so we are careful when choosing panels for local installations.

The single most important factor with regard to PV performance is solar access.  Shading will dramatically decrease the PV production.  Snow that covers panels will act as shade and any design in areas of heavy winter snowfall should take this into account.  We keep clear of roof valleys and roof pitch changes.  The valleys and pitch breaks hold the snow and can experience freeze/thaw cycles and flow like a glacier; we have seen this effect break PV modules.

​​​​​Solar in the High Country requires extra care and sturdy construction.  The reduced atmospheric density, precipitation, ice dynamics and lower temperatures are the primary factors that affect solar design and installation at an elevation of 9600 feet.

Most solar panels are rated at standard test conditions (STC).  The STC ratings are based on sea level air density and temperatures that are different from what we see and because of this, we typically exceed STC values.  If you were to compare the production of two identical solar energy systems, one in Summit County and one in the southwestern US, the system in Summit County would have higher instantaneous power readings.  Basically, a photovoltaic (PV) panel is really an electronic device that generates electricity from sun light, not heat.  This makes our high country region ideal for solar.

There are extra considerations when designing PV systems in our region. In fact, like the photo below, we have repaired systems designed and installed incorrectly that have failed because these considerations were not taken seriously.

Solar Out Performs

In many cases, solar power can be more efficient than wind power in these higher elevations. The lower temperatures and higher insolation allows PV systems to produce more power than predicted at standard testing conditions. On the other hand, wind turbines perform best in consistent wind speeds which can be difficult to find in our often turbulent and gusty wind environment. In the high country, we see both lower atmospheric density (less power to push the blades of the turbine) and turbulent, shifty winds that not only decrease efficiency, but also create excessive wear and tear on the turbine.

Installing solar panels on your home greatly reduce your monthly power bill, allowing your money to work for you, locally and long term.  The environmental benefits are self evident, but the financials are often less so.  Take the time to explore all aspects of a solar energy purchase.  We are here to help you along the way.  Our goal is to make you comfortable and take the complexity out of the process.  Our core belief is to always operate with honesty, integrity, and a commitment to our customer that surpasses the industry standard.

The potential savings for a typical family in Colorado can be up to $1,500 a year, maybe more in our mountain climate.    The purchase of solar panels is not like a typical investment, solar does not accrue dividends or increase in value like other investments, so you do not pay tax on the income.  The investment pays off in avoided cost, savings that you can use for the more important things in your life instead of mundane utility bills (a payment that goes on forever!).  As the years go by, energy rates also go up, due to inflation and market demands for energy.  This increases your return year after year.  A solar panel system also retains its value as a part of your home, increasing the value and often selling faster than other homes on the market.

The Steps to Solar Energy for your Home

Free Consultation- Easy, no pressure consultation to determine if solar is a good option for your home.  
Installation-  An average size solar energy system for your home can be installed in two to four days. 
Monitoring-  Once you are a solar energy owner, keeping track of your solar dividends can be easy with monitoring solutions.

Benefits of Solar

Electric Bill Savings - A solar energy investment leads to utility bill savings instead of a tax on investment income.
Increase in Property Value -  Homes with solar energy production sell faster and at higher prices.
Energy Security - Energy prices are expected to rise 5% every year.  Solar energy fixes your cost!
Environmental Benefits - You can feel good about your solar purchase!  Renewable energy is clean and safe.



High Elevation Considerations

Cut your business's energy cost, lock-in energy rates and deliver energy independence with our turnkey solar solutions.  Brown's Compounding of Denver partnered with our solar design engineers to deliver vast energy savings and reduced operational cost for the long term.  According to commercial buildings account for 19% of energy consumed in the United States. A renewable power system paired with energy efficiency upgrades can help your bottom line and the environment.

The process for businesses can be quite different than installing a residential system.  If you are a non-profit or a government entity you will not qualify for the 30% Federal Tax Credit (FTC).  A 3rd party financier or a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA)  will enable your organization to obtain the 30% reduction in cost.  We will help you find a PPA or financier and walk you through the process to make your solar experience easy and affordable. 

​The Town of Breckenridge PPA project was the largest commercial project for Innovative Energy to date coming in at 466 kW! Innovative Energy provided engineering, permitting, and construction (EPC) services for the installation.  Renewable Social Benefits Funds provided project financing and Martifer Solar provided equipment.  With this setup, the Town pays no money upfront and immediately benefits from reduced electric bills!

These 7 town facilities were chosen to host PV systems,

Recreation Center - 102.9 kW                                 Golf Course Main Irrigation - 55.44 kW                            Ice Rink - 102.9 kW

Fleet Maintenance - 102.12 kW                               Police Station - 54.72 kW                                                    Riverwalk Center - 8.64 kW                        

Golf Course Maintenance - 39.6 kW