Archive for the ‘ Renewable Energy ’ Category

Installing Solar & Wind in a Colorado HOA Community

At All Things Renewable, we often have customers who want to add renewable energy to their properties, but are worried that their HOAs will keep them from putting solar modules on their rooftops or a small wind turbine in their back yards.  Well they’re in luck!  Last year, on August 6, 2008, the State of Colorado passed The HOA Bill for Home Owners’ Associations.  This new law states that HOAs are not allowed to prohibit homeowners from installing or using renewable energy devices on the property they own.

Solar Installation

The following is excerpted from the Colorado Governor’s Energy Office.


HOA’s [sic] have the ability to make a strong impact in establishing more energy efficient and sustainable communities within Colorado. This page includes information about The Homeowners’ Association (HOA) Bill for HOA’s. Read about the implications of the law, and how you can best use the law in this section.

The Basics

  • The law went into effect on August 6, 2008
  • HOA’s are not allowed to prohibit the installation or use of renewable energy devices or energy efficiency measures within their communities based upon aesthetic rules and restrictions.
  • Residential and commercial property owners have the legal right to erect and use renewable energy generation devices on property they own.  These include:
    • Photovoltaic (PV) solar electric panels
    • Solar thermal systems (solar water heaters)
    • Solar lighting systems
    • Wind electric generators
  • Residential property owners also have the right to install and use energy efficiency measures on property they own. These include:
    • Awnings, shutters, trellis, ramadas, or other energy reducing shade structures
    • Garage or attic fans
    • Evaporative coolers
    • Energy-efficient outdoor lighting
    • Retractable clotheslines
  • Any and all of these devices and measures must meet all building code, electrical and bona fide safety requirements.
  • Residential property owners do not have the right to erect or install renewable energy devices or energy efficiency measures on limited or general common elements of the Common Interest Community(CIC). This is particularly important for condominium and town home communities, where residents may not own the exterior of their units.
  • Unreasonable restrictions on renewable energy devices are void and unenforceable. This law overrides any covenants, restrictions, or conditions contained in any deed contract, security instrument or other instrument affecting the transfer or sale of, or any interest in, real property (residential or commercial) that attempts to restrict or prohibit the installation of solar energy devices and wind-electric generators.
  • HOA’s can impose reasonable restrictions on the dimensions, placement and external appearance of the renewable energy device. However, an HOA/CIC cannot:
    • Prohibit the installation or use of a renewable energy device.
    • Significantly increase the cost of installation or use of the renewable energy device.
    • Significantly decrease its performance or efficiency


If you are concerned that your HOA will not be receptive to your renewable energy improvements, we might be able to help. Contact us for more information on renewable energy improvements for your home or business, or to speak to your HOA on why renewable energy is good for your community. When your neighbors realize how renewable energy systems improve property values, they will undoubtedly become more receptive.


Update on Windcentives

Finally, wind energy for homes and small business gets incentives from the Federal Government. Contact All Things Renewable for more information.

The following is courtesy of Southwest Windpower:

On February 17, 2009 President Obama signed into law the American Recovery and Re-investment Act of 2009. With a significant emphasis on renewable energy technology deployment and job expansion, the bill improved upon the 2008 small wind tax credit by removing “cost caps.” This change allows consumers and small businesses to deduct from their tax liability 30% off the installed cost of a wind turbine. Additionally, businesses will have the option of receiving their credit in the form of a cash grant.

SkystreamQ:  What does this mean to me?

A:  The entire cost of a Skystream system (plus installation) is reduced by 30 percent provided you have a tax liability over the course of two years. Depending on where you live, you could save even more! States have also implemented rebates for small wind systems which can be used in addition to the Federal credit. Furthermore, in the last two months alone, more than 30 states have introduced legislation that either expands incentives for renewable energy and/or addresses market barriers.
Typically, a tax credit is money that you can deduct from any money owed to the federal government at tax time (tax liability). The small wind tax credit can be carried over two years after the product is installed. For more information on how to take advantage of the credit, we suggest that you speak to a tax specialist.

Q:  How do I claim the credit?

A: You will be required to file the long form and itemize your deductions. The IRS form 5695 must be completed and filed with your taxes. The current form does not reflect the changes to the most recent legislation.

Q: What if I want to purchase and install more than one Skystream?

A: The stimulus package allows for a 30 percent tax credit on the total cost of multiple units. There is no cap on the 30 percent tax credit. Businesses may qualify for a grant from the US Treasury in lieu of a tax credit.

Q: I heard I can get cash back rather than a tax credit – how does that work?

A: Businesses can apply for a grant from the US Treasury and rather than a tax credit, receive a cash grant. The details are still being worked out but should be in place by April or May. Keep in touch with your dealer or the manufacturer for more information.

Q: Does this work for all small wind systems, even Whisper and Air Breeze?

A: Yes. The incentive is available to all users of small wind systems.

Q: How much does a Skystream cost?

A:  Although costs vary depending on installation and height, the following is a guideline for a Skystream mounted on a 33-foot’ monopole. 

Installed Cost ……………………….. $    14,000
Federal Incentive (30%) …………… $ ─   4,200
State Incentive ………………………. $            0*
Final Cost ……………………………. $      9,800

* State incentives can reduce costs further in some areas.

Taking Solar on (and off) the Road

When Julie and I were planning out All Things Renewable, I told her that I ultimately wanted to manufacture portable solar power stations and car ports.

Recently, we had a company request information on solar for construction trailers.  During the initial meeting with the client, it became clear that they typically didn’t own the construction trailers, and installing solar directly on them was complicated and impractical.  I presented the idea of a trailer-based solar power station, and they liked the idea enough to ask us to spec one out.  So, Brian and I sat down at a local diner one afternoon and started penciling out design specs and load requirements. Brian Matzen is my systems installation contractor and electrical consultant, and has years of experience in custom solar application design.

Solar generator is easily towable to a job site or field use

Solar generator is easily towable to a job site or field use

Anyway, we did a bit of competitive research, and Brian found a company that already builds these things to military specification.  It didn’t take long for both of us to realize there was little point in trying to build something to the customer’s requirements without having field tested a generic unit, so the logical decision was to talk with the manufacturer.

As a result, All Things Renewable now carries solar power stations. These units come pre-designed to military specs, so they are incredibly durable and sized to replace a 10kW diesel generator, except quiet and with no fumes.  These solar generators can be customized to suit specific output requirements, include wind turbines, propane backup systems, and even  mobile workstations.  Stop by the store to find out more.