ith its sunny climate, Colorado has become a hotspot for solar conversions, and Denver, in particular, has seen a surge in photovoltaic (PV) installations. However, despite its many benefits, the decision to switch to solar can be daunting for some. The high initial costs and the challenge of finding a reputable installer are among the most significant concerns. This article will explore the benefits and costs of going solar in CO, with a focus on its capital. Additionally, we've compiled a list of the best installers in the region to help you make an informed decision regarding your PV power setup.
Power your life with the sun's power: why it's a smart choice
Before we delve into the Centennial State's solar power market, it's worth taking a moment to consider the many ways in which solar power is advantageous and how homeowners can benefit from it. So let's examine the perks of using solar and the reasons why it's a clever decision to fuel your household or business.
Save money on your bills
Switching to solar offers a host of benefits, with one of the most compelling being the significant cost savings it provides. By harnessing the sun's energy, you can reduce or even eliminate your reliance on expensive utility companies, leading to lower monthly electricity bills. Depending on your location, the size of your system, and your electricity consumption, you could potentially save thousands of dollars over the lifetime of your photovoltaic panels. In fact, some estimates suggest that homeowners who switch to solar could enjoy savings of up to 90% on their monthly electricity bills.
One of the main drivers of these savings is the fact that solar systems have no fuel costs. Unlike traditional electricity generation, which relies on costly and finite fossil fuels, PV panels utilize the abundant and free power of the sun. Once you've installed your solar panels, the ongoing cost of generating power is essentially zero.
Moreover, there are numerous incentives and subsidies available to help offset the upfront costs of installing photovoltaic panels. For instance, homeowners can take advantage of a federal tax credit that covers 30% of the price of their solar power system, along with state-level incentives and rebates available from local utilities.
Reduce your carbon footprint
Switching to solar not only saves you money but also helps you shrink your carbon footprint. Climate change is a critical global challenge that's affecting our planet in countless ways. One of the leading causes of climate change is the release of greenhouse gases, such as carbon dioxide, into the atmosphere. These gases trap heat in our planet's atmosphere, causing temperatures to rise and leading to several adverse effects, including rising sea levels, extreme weather patterns, and biodiversity loss.
Fortunately, we can all take steps to lessen our carbon footprint, and going solar is an excellent way to get started. By installing solar panels on your home or business, you're producing clean, renewable power rather than depending on fossil fuels like coal, oil, and gas. Generating your own clean electricity reduces the number of greenhouse gases released into the atmosphere.
The quantity of carbon dioxide saved by going solar is determined by several factors, such as the size of your solar system, electricity consumption, and the amount of sunlight in your region. However, by installing a kilowatt of solar power, you can reduce your home's carbon footprint by a whopping 3,000 pounds per year. For a typical six-kilowatt residential system, that equates to an impressive 18,000 pounds of CO2 saved annually.
Increase the value of your home
As solar power gains popularity, homebuyers are increasingly seeking properties with pre-installed solar panels. According to Zillow's research, adding PV panels to your home could boost its value by up to 4.1%. One of the main reasons for this increase in value is the significant reduction in electricity bills that solar panels can provide, making it an enticing selling point for potential buyers. Not to mention, solar panels are a wise long-term investment, as the benefits of going solar will continue to pay dividends for years to come.
In addition to the financial benefits, solar panels are also a symbol of a contemporary, eco-friendly home, which is especially appealing to environmentally conscious buyers. This is particularly relevant in areas with a strong sustainability culture.
Enjoy a reliable source of power
Solar energy has a distinct advantage over traditional energy sources because it's resilient during power outages. When the grid goes down, photovoltaic systems with battery storage can continue to provide power even when the rest of the neighborhood is in the dark. This is particularly crucial for areas prone to natural disasters or other disruptions.
Moreover, solar power is generated on-site, which means it's decentralized and reduces the likelihood of power outages due to infrastructure failures or grid issues. It also fosters communities' self-sufficiency by decreasing their dependence on external sources of power.
Lastly, solar power is a fantastic alternative for remote areas without access to the grid. Installing a solar system can be a cost-effective and reliable way to provide power without the need for expensive and difficult-to-maintain infrastructure.
Support local jobs and businesses
Going solar not only helps you generate your own clean energy but also contributes to the growth of the local solar industry, creating job opportunities for skilled professionals. In fact, PV installation companies and contractors have become a major source of employment in many areas, offering lucrative positions and boosting the local economy.
By purchasing solar panels from a local supplier or manufacturer, you're supporting the growth of small and large businesses in your community. This helps create job opportunities and contributes to the local economy while also promoting sustainable energy practices.
What Colorado homeowners should know about going solar
Most CO homeowners will find it worthwhile to convert to solar, given the state's abundance of sunshine and the reasonable cost of the equipment. According to Project Sunroof, 87% of all buildings in the state are feasible for solar power, making it a smart choice for householders looking to reduce their carbon footprint. Next, we'll examine the primary topics concerning those looking to switch to solar in the Centennial State.
Costs of PV panels
EnergySage reports that the average solar panel price in Colorado's companies stands at $3.42 per watt. So, if you're looking to install a PV panel system with an average size of 6 kilowatts, you can expect to spend between $18,000 and $23,000, with an average cost of $20,500.
When it comes to the cost of a photovoltaic system, several factors can come into play. The size of the system is a primary consideration, as larger systems often cost more than smaller ones. Additionally, the type of panels, inverters, and other equipment used can also affect the overall cost. Other factors, such as the complexity of the installation, including roof type and orientation, as well as any necessary upgrades to the electrical system, can impact the cost as well. The availability of incentives and rebates, along with the installer's labor costs, can also play a role in determining the final cost of a solar system. It's important to consider all of these factors and work with a reputable installation company to ensure that the system is installed correctly and provides optimal savings throughout its lifetime.
In CO, it takes around 12 years on average to break even on your solar investment, but the good news is that you'll enjoy free electricity for many years afterward. And with energy credits and net metering, your photovoltaic system might even generate revenue in the long run. With an average-sized system installation and upfront cash payment, you can expect to save approximately $17,000 over a span of 20 years.
Colorado residents who want to switch to solar have access to several incentives that can help them save money and reduce their carbon footprint.
One of the most significant incentives is the Federal Solar Investment Tax Credit (ITC), which provides a 30% reduction in income tax liability for the value of your PV panel system. This one-time credit can save residents over $6,000 on average and is applied when filing taxes for the year the system is installed.
Another valuable incentive available to Coloradans is the Solar Equipment Sales Tax Exemption, which eliminates the sales tax on all solar equipment purchases. This one-time incentive can save an average of $600 when buying the system.
Additionally, you can benefit from the Solar Property Tax Exemption for Residential Renewable Energy Equipment, which ensures property taxes don't increase due to the added value of a photovoltaic system. Savings vary depending on the system size and the property's assessed value.
And let's not forget about the Net Energy Metering incentive, which can help you get credits for any extra solar energy you generate and export to the grid. These credits can help you pay future utility bills. Savings vary based on factors such as monthly bills, system size, and electricity consumption.
Lastly, Coloradans may qualify for local incentives from municipalities and utility companies. Rebate programs can save money after purchasing a system, with savings depending on the specific rebate and other factors.
Best solar companies in Denver
With the rapid growth of solar companies, the market is now flooded with businesses offering a variety of solar related services. However, choosing the right provider for your needs can be challenging. To help you make an informed decision, this section highlights some of the best solar companies in Denver, shedding light on their individual strengths and services.
Freedom Solar is a highly respected installer that provides all-in-one solutions to homeowners. Their installation service comprises seven steps, covering everything from obtaining necessary permits and approvals to final inspections. The company offers a warranty that spans 25 years and covers both product performance and service and is recognized as one of the industry's top warranties.
Freedom Solar has partnered with SunPower, a leading manufacturer of high-efficiency panels, to provide customers with the latest and most efficient technology available. The installer's expertise is demonstrated by their status as a SunPower Master Dealer in multiple states, including CO. Additionally, its team includes certified technicians who can install Tesla Powerwall and other battery backup systems, making Freedom a one-stop-shop for all solar power needs.
Although its prices may be slightly higher than some of its competitors, Freedom Solar offers loans to help homeowners reduce the upfront cost of installation. However, the company doesn't provide solar leases or power purchase agreements (PPAs).
Solar Side Up
Solar Side Up is another well-recognized installation company that operates in Mile High City. They are known for their NABCEP-certified technicians, informative sales approach, and comprehensive range of services. With years of experience in the industry, Solar Side Up offers various services, including solar installation for both residential and commercial properties, maintenance and repairs, battery and storage solutions, and roofing for solar systems. Customers have reported that working with the company is easy and enjoyable, with installation times ranging from a few hours to a day, depending on the size of the system.
The company provides customers with various financing options, including third-party loans, to make investing in solar power more convenient. Additionally, it sources its panels from top-notch manufacturers and provides services such as battery storage and roofing for PV systems. To further ensure customer satisfaction, the company offers a 25-year warranty, guaranteeing the protection of their investment.
ARE Solar, also known as Affordable Renewable Energy LLC, is a company that provides solar consulting and installation services in the Denver to Boulder areas. What sets them apart is their transparent pricing policy, which is rare in the installation industry. Their clients receive customized system designs that can withstand harsh weather conditions, such as rain, wind, and snow. Moreover, ARE Solar not only installs photovoltaic systems but also offers maintenance and project management services, creating a one-stop-shop experience for their customers.
Another benefit of working with ARE Solar company is their team of NABCEP-certified technicians, which includes structural engineers, roof contractors, and electricians. Their team is well-equipped to handle any installation challenges that may arise. The company sources equipment directly from distributors, which helps them keep costs low. They also handle all permits, inspections, and paperwork, making the installation process hassle-free for their clients. ARE provides a comprehensive 25-year warranty on all solar panels, as well as various financing options.
Smart Wave Solar
Smart Wave Solar LLC is a reputable mid-sized installer based in Utah, with a branch office in Denver. Since its establishment in 2007, the company has become one of the fastest-growing solar providers, catering primarily to residential properties and a few commercial clients. One of its unique selling points is its in-house services, which eliminate the need for third-party contractors when a customer has a problem.
Smart Wave prides itself on offering top-quality products and services, partnering with industry-leading brands such as Sunpower, Enphase, Solana, and Silfab. Customers have noted that the company provides competitive prices for its high-quality products and has excellent financing options. Smart Wave Solar offers low-interest rates, and qualifying clients can get solar power for $0 down, making it an attractive option for budget-conscious customers looking to switch to renewable energy sources.
The company provides a 25-year workmanship and system production warranty, while the manufacturer's warranty varies depending on the product.
Photon Brothers, a local installer in Denver, is known for its outstanding customer service and its dedication to providing renewable energy to the people of Colorado. The company has earned an impressive A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau and has received many positive reviews from its satisfied customers.
Photon Brothers provide QCell, Silfab, and REC panels, which are highly regarded for their advanced technology and superior quality. The company also offers 25-year warranties that cover equipment and efficiency, which is crucial for Coloradans due to potential damage caused by harsh weather conditions. Additionally, it provides several financing options to make solar more accessible to the local community, including 0% interest and no-money-down plans.
To sum up, adopting solar power in Colorado, especially in Denver, comes with many perks. These range from substantial savings on electricity bills and a reduced carbon footprint to a boost in property value, reliable energy supply during outages, and supporting the local economy. While the initial cost of installation may seem overwhelming, there are various incentives and subsidies accessible to counterbalance these expenses. Moreover, reputable regional and local installation companies provide multiple services, warranties, and financing options to cater to different requirements and budgets.
As the world confronts the challenges of climate change, switching to renewable power sources like solar power has become imperative. Given the state’s abundant sunshine and the numerous advantages of going solar, it's a wise decision for Coloradans. Thanks to incentives and dependable installers, transitioning to solar power in Colorado has never been more effortless.