Colorado Solar Panel Buyers Guide [Installation & Efficiency 2022]
Thinking about installing solar panels in your Colorado home? Here’s what we’ll cover in this comprehensive solar guide:
- How to find a Colorado solar panel installer
- Why install solar panels in Colorado
- Types of solar incentives in Colorado
- What the price of your solar system will be
This guide has helped thousands of Colorado homeowners like you choose the right solar panel system for their home, which saves them time and money in the process.
How to Get Solar Panels in Colorado
The process to install solar panels has never been easier. The biggest decision you’ll have to make is which solar panel company you’d like to use, then your installer will do the rest. Your solar contractor can help with brand selection, rooftop panel design and of course, installation.
Installation is similar across the board, and you can expect the following process for your photovoltaic modules:
- Receive free quotes from solar installers of your choice
- Choose your financing method and sign the contract
- Contact your utility company to review rebate options
- Solar company will handle permits, licenses and solar equipment
- Solar company installs solar panels
- Pass inspections from local authority
- Turn on system and offset energy needs
What Is The Price of Solar Panel Installation in Colorado?
At around $2.69 per watt, the price of Colorado solar panels is slightly higher than the average cost in the United States. Most Colorado homeowners require a 7.5 kW system to offset their energy bills, which, on average, starts around $20,175 before the solar tax credit.
Other than system size, other factors can impact the price of your solar project, namely:
- Installation of solar batteries
- Quality of your solar panels
- Preferred financing options
- Solar contractor labor fees
On average, it takes the average Colorado solar panel system just 13 years to pay for itself, but nearly all homeowners see that payoff in 10 to 16 years at most. At slightly above the national average of 9 to 15 years, this is a great payback period.
Compared to other major states, the cost of electricity is relatively low in Colorado. You may not save as much money as those who live in areas with high electricity rates, but that’s because you weren’t paying as much in the first place. There are also several Colorado solar incentive programs that make the installation of home solar well worth it.
The Best Solar Panel Brands Available in Colorado
The brand you choose for your solar energy system is likely the biggest decision you will make when it comes to solar installation. Not only will the brand dictate the price of your solar system, but it will also impact your system’s efficiency and durability.
High-quality brands typically require paying more upfront, but they have higher efficiency ratings and better warranties. Yet, homes that require less energy can likely get away with a smaller system size from a mid-level solar company.
Here are the top solar brands in the solar industry that offer their products in Colorado:
Ready to see the cost of solar panels for your Colorado home? Contact a solar contractor by checking out our top-ranked brands below.
Is Colorado a Good State For Solar Panels?
If you live in Colorado it is absolutely worth it to install solar panels. With good net metering policies, electricity buy-back programs and the above-average number of sunny days, a solar power system can only add value to your home.
One of the most pressing concerns that many Colorado homeowners voice is the snowfall. Colorado gets an annual average of 67 inches of snow each year, which could impact the efficiency of your panels.
Despite the heavy snowfall, residents of Colorado experience some of the sunniest weather in the U.S., so those who live in the more populated areas won’t have to worry about the snow. Even during the winter months Colorado experiences endless days of sunshine.
Other benefits of solar energy in Colorado include:
- Complete offset of your home energy costs
- Increased value of your home
- Access to high-quality solar brands
- Excellent incentives programs
- Energy buy-back programs
- Lower than average upfront costs
How Much Energy Can I Get From Solar Panels in Colorado?
The average 7.5 kW solar system generates enough energy to cover your electricity bill, but there are several factors that are likely to impact the energy efficiency of your system.
The best way to determine the size of your solar system is to contact a solar installer, but the chart below provides the average kilowatt-hours that can be generated each year by a Colorado solar system.
|Size of Solar Panel System||Estimated kWh/Year Generated|
|6 kW||9,025 kWh/yr|
|7 kW||10,531 kWh/yr|
|8 kW||12,035 kWh/yr|
|9 kW||13,045 kWh/yr|
Your solar savings are impacted by so many factors that average numbers won’t always cut it. That is why EcoWatch created a solar calculator to predict your unique solar savings. All you have to do is enter your address and your individualized results will appear.
Colorado gets around 300 days of sun each year, so lack of direct sunlight is not necessarily something that you will have to worry about as far as efficiency goes. However, some factors to keep in mind as you design your solar system include:
- Solar panel efficiency: Higher efficiency panels are better at converting solar energy into usable electricity, so choose these panels over lower-efficiency ones
- Hours of sunlight: Direct sunlight matters for panel efficiency, so the more hours of sunlight you get the better your panels will perform
- Shading on your property: If your property is shaded, you will have less access to direct sunlight, and thus, less solar power
- Orientation of your solar panels: Your panels should be angled at the optimal angle for light absorption, which means expert installation is the key to solar success
- Your energy needs: Some Colorado households use more energy than others, so your unique energy needs play a huge role in system size and selection
- Your energy goals: There’s a difference between partial solar energy and full solar energy. You will need more panels if your goal is to completely rely on solar for power
Solar Panel Policy History in Colorado
Colorado has always been a leader in environmental protection, so it’s no wonder that it was one of the first states to enact the Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) in 2004. Since then, the state has increased its goal three times and has set investor-owned-utilities (IOUs) to generate a minimum of 30% of its energy from renewable sources by 2030.1
As of 2021, Colorado residents have installed more than 2,268.10 million watts of solar capacity, which places the state 13th in the nation for solar adoption.2 Colorado may not be in the top ten, but leaders have increased their efforts since 2017 and promoted the use of residential solar energy through generous rebate and incentive programs.
What Are The Solar Panel Incentives in Colorado?
According to the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), Colorado is ranked number 12 in their line-up of the most solar-friendly states. Much of this rating can be attributed to the sheer number of solar rebates, but there are also two tax exemption programs and other incentives:
- Xcel Energy Solar*Rewards: As the largest power company in Colorado, Xcel Energy offers one of the best rebate programs around. The Solar*Rewards program will award $0.005 per kilowatt-hour for residential systems up to 25 kilowatts (kW)
- EnergySmart Colorado: Serving several counties in Colorado, EnergySmart’s rebate program covers up to 25% of the total cost of your system
- Colorado Springs Utilities Renewable Energy Rebate Program: At $0.10 per watt, Colorado Springs Utilities customers are eligible for a rebate on systems up to 15 kilowatts
- Holy Cross Energy Renewable Energy Rebate Program: Residents who use Holy Cross Energy can get up to $250 per kilowatt for systems 6 kW and under, or up to $100 per kW over 6 kilowatts in size
- Black Hills Solar Power Program: Paid out over a period of 10 years, Black Hills Energy consumers can get a rebate that provides an incentive of $0.03 per kilowatt for systems under 20 kW
- Colorado Energy Office Rooftop Solar PV Program: Qualifying low-income homeowners can save up to $400 per year in incentives for their rooftop and community solar installations
- Colorado Tax Exemptions: The property tax exemption for residential renewable energy equipment ensures that even though your home’s value will increase, your property tax will never increase due to the addition of solar panels. You will also not have to pay sales tax on solar equipment
- Net Metering Opportunities: Because it’s one of the best net metering states in the country, Colorado residents can credit excess energy towards their future bills and potentially sell overproduction to their electric company
Coloradans are eligible for the federal solar investment tax credit (ITC). The federal solar tax credit is available to all Colorado residents who go solar, and it amounts to 30% of the price of your total installation. Averaging about $6,052 per homeowner, this credit makes it even easier to choose clean energy.
If you are interested in learning more about solar incentives in Colorado, make sure you visit our in-depth guide.
Find a Local Installer in Colorado
So that you can find reliable solar companies to install your new solar system, the solar experts at EcoWatch have hand-selected the top installers in your area. Click on any of the links below to discover who you can go to for top-notch solar equipment.