Welcome to Sundance Solar Designs   

                                                                                                                                                                                      Sundance Solar Designs 


Please call 970-209-0085 or email: sunsoldesigns@gmail.com with any questions or concerns you may have. Thank you for your understanding and stay healthy and safe as much as is possible. We will survive this by remaining courteous, civil and considerate of our neighbors and community needs. We will respond swiftly to your energy services needs in order for you to maintain essential infrastructure and energy supply.                                                                              


  Our Services:

                 We offer complete solar PV and thermal energy systems design, consulting, sales and installation and sustainable architecture across Colorado's western slope in Montrose, Grand Junction, Ouray and San Miguel, Dolores, Montezuma and La Plata County and beyond to all parts of the U.S. and overseas. For over 38 years, from sustainable design incorporating renewable energy systems and methodologies these services have been provided, serviced and maintained with the client's interests kept in mind..We live in a solar home using photovoltaics and wind generators for electrical needs on the ranch and solar thermal to heat the home and provide domestic hot water so we know what works because we live with it each day. To learn more about the ranch, go to www.greenplaceranch.com .Our experience ranges from utility scale municipal solar, medical cliinics and hospital power plant design and feasibility studies to residential and commercial sustainable design. Design and installations are based on the needs of the customer and energy efficient choices in selecting appropriate electric, heating, and pumping solutions.   We have over 38 years of experience living and working with solar system and home design and site integration including infrastructure considerations (water systems, septic and gray water, heat gain and loss calculations affecting design as well as project management and oversight services.)   Maximizing efficiency and coupling these choices with proper site analysis and system design, taking into account customer concerns regarding aesthetics and practical function, lead to site and project specific solutions with regard to the energy or hybrid energy system(s) chosen. We design our homes under the Uniform Building Code and design and install our renewable energy systems according to the National Electric Code. Over the years, these services have been provided to various branches of themilitary as well as Federal Agencies such as the National Park Service, BLM, BIA, U.S. Forest Service as well as scientific organizations such as the Smithsonian Institute, National Science Foundation, Raytheon, CARE, Health and Human Services, and various NGO's, medical non-profits and disaster relief organizations and National Renewable Energy Labs and the Department of Energy. Your residential or commercial project is equally as important to us. Our qualifications reflect a broad range of experience and expertise from residential to commercial/industrial/military and conceptual design and systems economics feasibility work. Our custom solar home designs reflect the aesthetics and lifestyle of our clients, and their desire for a self sufficient, environmentally conscientious, sustainable home.Such a home reduces the energy footprint for heating, cooling and electricity. These designs take into account the core idea of comfort for the home owner through use of passive solar design coupled with renewable energy providing the support systems


                                                          Solar Tax Credits, Rebates and Incentives:

    The most impacting legislation included an extension of the ITC (investment tax credit) for residential and commercial solar. This means that there is a 30%, across the board, ITC for both solar thermal and solar electric (photovoltaic) that is extended now to 2030. The bill will provide extensions for both section 48 {commercial} and 25d {residential). This a direct sollar for dollar deduction off of taxes owed for 26% of the cost of the installed systems. Further, for commercial projects, 100% of the cost of the installed system (including system design/engineering, site visits, etc.) is able to be depreciated (less the 30% ITC), 50% the first year and a double declining balance over the remaining 5 years. Additional state and local utility incentives, along with potential for REC (renewable energy credits)sales contracts can add to the financial offsets of the systems costs. Check www.dsireusa.org and your local utility for more information regarding rebates and incentives.

     What does all this mean? Either residential or commercial, you may choose to install these systems in order to reduce your overhead operating costs, thus increasing retained profits or income. Size the system properly and you have the potential to zero out your electrical meter and reduce your heating costs substantially (80% or more). If yours is a commercial project, you are also able to accelerate depreciation on 100% of the cost of the installed system with, now, a 50% bonus depreciation in the first year, the rest spread out over the next 5 years (actually six, but they call it a 5 year depreciation-go figure). In business, reduced overhead = increased profits. The Federal tax credit of 30% may be taken as a tax equity credit. Commercially or residentially, this is simply money you won't have to spend in the future. Once your system is producing kWhr's or Btu's, you have fixed your costs for that amount of power or heat, regardless of any rate or commodity price increases. We will help you figure it out and assist in filling out the paperwork with you in order to secure your incentives. Other state and local incentives may exist as well; through Governor's Energy Office grants, USDA grants and loans, as well as local utility incentive programs. Taken together, these can well add up to more than half the cost of the installed systems.

Financing Opportunities: We offer financing opportunities to our customers and will discuss lease programs on request. In the end, it is always financially advantageous for the customer to own the system outright and many equity strategies exist towards that end. Let us know what you need and we will do our best to provide a solution that suits the circumstances for all concerned. We are happy to provide documentation necessary for home equity financing purposes or offer direct financing for the system(s). The end result will always be energy and cost savings over the long term!


Overseas Work: Over the years we have had occasion to do quite a bit of work overseas. one such project was shortly after the January 12, 2010 Haiti earthquake, where we installed solar electric systems on 3 medical clinics as part of the humanitarian relief effort. Through the generosity and support of many of the companies and individuals we have worked with over the years, we were able to make a difference in several areas across Haiti that were not well served by the aid efforts concentrated in Port au Prince. What we found was a country devastated by not only disaster, but also by lack of organization, corruption and theft of  food, water, supplies and equipment at the highest and lowest levels, and a resilient people persevering in spite of all this. We were able to install systems on the three clinics serving a total population of half a million people in the areas we worked. We provided solar electric generating systems and medical refrigeration for these clinics and also a small solar electric system for a base camp of rotating shifts of doctors and nurses where the 82nd Airborne were based. We were fortunate to work with the in-country representative of the Association of Public Health Laboratories, University of Maryland, and the Centers for Disease Control. We previously have done work on a health clinic in Kenya, Africa with the CDC and in Panama for the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute some ten years ago. The greatest reward for us is knowing that our efforts were well targeted with the assistance of the APHL, the 82nd and the owner/partner of the Petionville Club where the 82nd was based. I can not speak more highly of the 82nd's Commanding Officer and personnel who assisted us with logistics and transportation of our equipment and people.


solar home projects (Click on this link to see some of the homes we have created.)

Our sustainable home designs begin with you and your ideas of what you want in a home. It is a process by which your choices in terms of materials, space and flow are revealed during the design work. Initially we will have a meeting during which these ideas are developed and principles of sustainable design, aesthetic building style and material choices are discussed. Several drafts will lead to a final design, with ongoing reviews to bring about the permit ready plans. Engineering of the home and support systems is also part of the process. In this manner, all parts of the home are brought forth to the client and when the design is complete, the customer has a comprehensive view of the project and an understanding of how each choice affects the total performance, comfort of the structure and the workings of each of the support systems. Many of our customers initially come in with sketches they have made, or magazine photo's and ideas they have accumulated since they have made the decision to embark upon the project. In the end, as a result of our collective efforts, you will have a home that is uniquely yours because it came from you. We seem to have a knack for working in remote, unusual places at times, from building the only home on Colorado's highest mountain, Mt. Elbert to a cottage on the island of Roatan, Honduras to providing energy systems in the jungles of Panama for the Smithsonian (STRI: Three Smithsonian Tropical Research Stations). (Note: We don't have a "book of plans", cookie cutter applications to site specific, unique design applications. Each design is tailored to the client and takes some time to accomplish. You should allow a minimum of 4 to 6 months for such design projects.

     Generally speaking, these homes are built with little if any increase in cost or time from more conventional structures, they are simply better thought out. The time spent in proper design is returned many times over in performance, comfort and long term affordability with respect to energy consumption and costs.)

solar energy systems (click on this link to see some of our more unique energy systems)

A 10 kw utility grid-tie system with energy storage incorporated as a prevention of power loss in the event of utility failure.

                                                                                          A 50kW commercial Grid-Tie System installed in the Spring of 2012 on a department store in Rifle, CO.

    Ultimately, energy efficiency equals cost efficiency. The most efficient building design will yield the most cost effective and least cost energy efficient support systems requirements. Thus, if you are in the enviable position of just starting to think about building your solar home, office or workshop, you may employ some of the simple wholistic approaches to your design of the structures, their infrastructure developments and energy applications and end up with the most effective low cost energy systems to support those spaces.

    These design specifications will likely rotate around some basic principles of solar design like thermal mass to moderate heating and cooling requirements, envelope integrity to minimize heat gain and loss, proper cross ventilation and day lighting strategies to reduce the necessity of mechanical systems to achieve the same results and space interactions to optimize circulation of both the air flow and human element flow throughout the space.

      A southwest Colorado home with a solar electric 5kW grid-tie system (with battery backup) and a 352,000 Btu solar thermal space heating and domestic hot water



5kW photovoltaic & thermal system installed in Rico, CO zeroed out the owner's energy bill. 

                                                                                    Above, a similar sized 5kW+ systems' charge controllers, inverter and main AC load panel

   Solar thermal can provide the space heating and domestic hot water for the home. How these solar space heating and domestic hot water heating systems interact with your home and/or your existing original heating systems is one of the tasks of the initial site visit. Sometimes it makes sense to tag onto the existing systems and let the solar thermal system become the primary heat supply and other times you might just want to reconfigure everything altogether in order to achieve the most economical (in the long run) solution. Today's energy costs in either propane, electricity or natural gas have a lot of people re-thinking how they heat their homes and provide for hot water.

A "micro-grid"Photovoltaic system installed at the Maze, Canyonlands National Park and the battery bank that went with it. This system serves 8 living units, maintenance station and the ranger station.

    Solar electric (photovoltaic's) and/or wind/micro-hydro can supply the power requirements of the home. This may be done with a grid-tie system that puts power back into the utility lines to offset the electricity used by the house in total or a percentage of the total (depending on the wishes of the owner with regards to size, performance and cost of  the system) or it may be done as a standalone system that employs a battery storage system, with or without a back-up of a generator or utility interconnect. Choosing the right approach is another one of the tasks that a site visit will provide the answers to. Helping the client with processing of grid-tie rebate applications, information regarding tax incentives and other applicable cost recoveries is something we are glad to assist with in the process of developing your renewable energy solutions.


Site selection, site visit and analysis:

Generally, the process goes like this:   a site is chosen meeting the qualities that are important to the owner/customer with respect the project, a contract is sent out and a site visit scheduled to collect the necessary information and consult with the client about using the most efficient electrical items for the planned site.   If an independent energy system is desired, we will work with the client to develop a load sheet on which to list the various items anticipated to be the loads (watts or amps at voltage - DC and/or AC) and duty cycles (# of hours/ day on average and days per week) on the system.  If the system is to be a grid interactive system, we will develop the power usage data requirements, either from the last years worth of utility records noting kWh, rate  and tariff structures, time of use and demand charges and utility specific criteria or power usage projections for new projects. After visiting with the client or their agent about the project and collecting the site and project specific information, we return to the office to perform the system design calculations and a series (normally two or three) of system quotes varying in price and performance.   We also prepare system performance calculations for each system presented (based on local climate date - we use a program with climatic data for the location of the project) showing the amount of power to be generated by the system with respect to the loads listed, along with a schematic detailing the components, wire size, over current devices and additional hardware in the design.   We consider and discuss with the customer the alternatives available including generator back-up, utility inter tie, wind hybrid and/or hydro-electric and try to come up with the most cost effective, performance effective solution to the clients needs.


                At this point, the customer may make an informed choice of the system they are most comfortable with in terms of price and performance and send a check for the amount quoted for the chosen system, we then schedule the installation at a mutually satisfactory time.       We bill for the installation on an ongoing basis or at the end of the installation depending on the project size and coordination issues with other subcontractors or considerations of the project.     The initial deposit price is based on the cost of the site visit as well as time devoted to system design work.  

    We literally go anywhere to install renewables.  We are happy to discuss your project with you, whether large or small, and look forward to answering any questions or concerns you may have.   We try to provide innovative solutions maximizing the value of your investment in renewables.   See our sample contract and load sheet .   Should you wish to proceed with your project, please fill in the blanks with your location information (we need a legal description of the place where the project is to be located, as well as name, mailing address, phone, etc.) and a check in the amount noted in the contract to begin the process.   Please call to discuss or obtain further information that you might need.   We look forward to working with you on your project.   Call us at 1-970-209-0085 or send us an email .