Steps to going solar
Residents and businesses who are considering a Solar/PV system are advised to carefully consider the size of the system they’ll need and its relative cost/benefits. Because lower rates can affect payback times, customers may want to factor in LPC’s very low rates when completing calculations.
In determining generation capacity, customers can calculate that for each 1,000 watts (one kW) of installed solar panel capacity, a photovoltaic system produces an average of 125 kWh/month of energy. In comparison to that, the average use for an LPC residential customer is 740kWh per month in 2010 and for an LPC small commercial business customer is 1,621 kWh per month in 2010.
Customers also may want to consider the roof or land area needed for the system, which is approximately 100 square feet per kW of Solar/PV. In making a location choice, customers should consider the quality and duration of sunlight regularly available at their chosen site. The best orientation is generally to the south. Panels facing other directions will produce about 25% less energy than their south-facing counterparts.
Once they have determined that they will install a Solar/PV system, customers should obtain bids from licensed & certified installers and review LPC’s small generation interconnection standards, located as part of Longmont City Code, section 14.32.220K and 14.32.225. As a final step before proceeding to build, customers need to apply for a permit from the City of Longmont. The permit application requires an installation drawing of the proposed system.
Once a system is complete, customers need to have the City of Longmont Building Inspection Department inspect the site for electric code compliance which applies to the customer-owned equipment associated with the panel installation. The department is located at 385 Kimbark Street. and can be reached by calling 303-651-8332.
After working with the building inspector, customers also need to schedule a second review that applies to the interconnection with the LPC electric system. This inspection may require a short outage to the building service. It can be scheduled by calling Longmont Power & Communications at 303-651-8386.
Upon successful completion of these inspections, the customer will be placed on LPC’s self generation/net metering rate and can begin to use their system.