Solar Energy 101 1

Skyline Solar Lets the Sunshine In

They say that Colorado residents see 300 days of sun each year. Whether that number is factual remains open to a bit of debate, but there is no denying that we do indeed enjoy quite a lot of sunshine here compared to many other places in the U.S. Take a look out the window right now—is the sun shining? Your answer will most likely be yes.

With all of those delicious golden rays constantly pouring over our state, it’s no wonder that many locals are choosing to harness this abundant natural energy source to help power their homes, ranches, and businesses. Solar energy is both sustainable and cost-effective in the long run, proving that what’s good for the earth can also be good for the wallet.

Skyline Solar is one new local enterprise helping to bring solar power to the Roaring Fork Valley, and its team is passionate about the work they do. Although the company calls Utah home, its partners work with a regional installer to serve the valley’s local market.

“Our local representative is Ali Belandria,” says founding co-partner Kyle Larsen. “He grew up in the Roaring Fork Valley and knows it very well and can come to your home to discuss your individual needs.”

Customer service tailored to each home or business owner is high on Larsen’s priority list. He and his founding co-partner Scott Knudsen had worked in the solar industry for years before joining forces to create Skyline Solar.

“What we found was that other companies weren’t customer-focused,” Larsen recalls. “Often customers were confused about how services worked and the sales process was just bad—so we wanted to create something with a simple desire to deliver a much better experience to our own customers.”

Larsen says that his company hopes to help locals make the transition to solar power as easily as possible. A bit of insight into how solar works is usually the first step in the process.

“Basically we match your monthly electricity bill with a solar payment. There’s no out-of-pocket cost and the system produces all the electricity you need, so you never have to pay for electricity again,” he explains. “The maintenance is next to nothing. And whatever energy isn’t used at home goes back into the power grid, and the consumer gets credit for what they don’t use.”

Once the consumer understands the basics, the company devises a specialized proposal for their property via an in-home consultation. Skyline Solar assesses the home or business property and history of energy use over the previous 12 months, and accounts for any increased energy needs anticipated in the future.

“Another thing that makes us different from other companies is that we help customers reduce the amount of energy they’re using before going solar,” Larsen notes. “For example, we replace every standard lightbulb with LED bulbs and install a smart thermostat. Those combined will reduce usage by about 25 percent so you don’t need as many solar panels.”

Larsen explains that the entire process, from consultation through installation, takes three to six weeks depending on property type. The company has handled 10 to 1,000 panels on everything from ranches and farms to single-family houses, townhomes, businesses, and even off-grid properties in remote locations.

“Plus, with current local and federal rebates that are available, there has never been a more affordable time in the lower Roaring Fork Valley to go solar,” Larsen adds, noting that the average cost of $20,000 for a single family is cut by 30 percent with tax credits and reduced by another 25 to 30 percent with local rebates. The resulting cost of about $8,000 is then financed through one of their customer-tailored programs.

“I always use the comparison to gas prices and ask, ‘If you could have locked in gas prices from what they were 20 years ago, would you have done it?’” Larsen says. “Everyone always answers ‘Yes, of course.’”

Locals interested in going solar can learn more about energy rebate programs by visiting AspenCORE.org, and can reach Skyline Solar’s valley representative Ali Belandria at 970.379.9502 or ali@skyline.solar.

“The bottom line is that solar provides cleaner energy and more control of your power bill,” Larsen says. “More than ever, it’s a competitive choice now.”