Renewable Energy Basics

The SE chapter of the Colorado Renewable Energy Society (SECRES) provides this information as a guide for those who are considering investing in renewable energy for their residential or commercial building. Solar energy (as opposed to wind and other forms) is more commonly used on individual buildings as it is more easily deployed at smaller scale and in urban areas.  Solar electric (photovoltaic or PV) systems convert sunlight to electricity while solar thermal systems convert sunlight to heat.  Home Power Magazine provides very useful tutorials on Solar Electricity Basics and Solar Hot Water Basics.


Financial incentives exist to help offset the cost of renewable energy systems. The Database of State Incentives for Renewables and Efficiency ( provides up to date information on all federal, state and local incentives, both residential and commercial, for renewable energy and efficiency upgrades.

Locate an Installer

SECRES does not recommend specific renewable energy installers. However, there are lists available.  The Colorado Solar Energy Industries Association (CoSEIA) and Colorado Solar provide lists of solar electric and hot water installers in the state.  Look for an installer who has NABCEP certification.  As with any building contractor, check references, ask how long they have been in business and how many systems they have installed like yours.  Are they insured and licensed with your regional building department?

SECRES Workshops

SECRES has held workshops to educate residential and commercial building owners on renewable energy. A core principle is to focus first on energy and water efficiency.  Efficiency improvements have a reasonably fast payback and decrease the required size and cost of the renewable energy system.  We provide the presentations from these workshops and welcome your questions.  Direct inquiries to .

Taming Energy and Water Waste Worshop

This workshop consists of five parts. Titled “Taming Energy and Water Waste”, it focuses on improving existing buildings with efficiency improvements and renewable energy additions.  Feel free to read, download and share the presentation material.

  1. Home Energy Basics
  2. DIY Energy Audits
  3. Professional Energy and Water Audits
  4. Incentives for Efficiency and Renewables
  5. Home and Business Renewable Energy

REBuilding Workshop

Tragically, the Pikes Peak Region has seen two devastating wildland fires with loss of life and the destruction of hundreds of homes. To assist those homeowners forced to rebuild, SECRES presented a workshop with information on efficiency and renewable energy in new construction.  We called this workshop “RE-Building”.  Feel free to read, download and share the presentations.

  1. The Basics of Home Energy and Water Efficiency
  2. Energy Efficient Heating and Cooling, Appliances and Lighting
  3. Renewable Energy Basics, Cost and Incentives
  4. Energy and Water Efficiency Certifications and Independent Inspections
  5. Efficient Construction Incentives and Mortgages
  6. Passive Solar and Local Case Study