There’s no denying the fact that solar energy is a big deal right now. Total solar energy capacity expanded by 50 percent last year, growing more rapidly than any other available energy source. In fact, solar represents fully two-thirds of net new capacity around the globe. However, the situation in the United States is complex. Varying solar energy potential and wildly different regulations and incentives mean that solar power in each state is unique. Solar energy Colorado is consistently ranked among the best in the nation, so let’s dig deeper to find out why.
Take one look at the typical climate in Colorado and it’s easy to see why Colorado solar panels are so popular. The Centennial State receives more than 300 days of sunshine per year, making it one of the very best places to capture and utilize solar energy. Colorado was also the first state in America to pass a voter-led Renewable Energy Standard (RES), which sets out specific goals for the amount of the state’s electricity that must come from renewable sources. The state also boasts a variety of programs aimed at boosting solar energy production and making solar panels Colorado more affordable and widely adopted.
Perhaps that’s why Colorado hosts well over 45,000 individual solar installations, nearly 250 solar panel installers in Colorado and 202,000 homes that draw their power from solar energy sources. The Comanche Solar Project alone has the capacity to generate a whopping 120 megawatts of electricity. That’s enough to meet all the electricity needs for more than 24,000 homes.
There’s no doubt that the state offers tremendous potential, but are solar panels worth it in Colorado? The answer is a resounding yes! In addition to the excellent climate conditions and a massive amount of untapped energy available, Colorado also features some of the most favorable solar energy regulations and incentives in the United States. Here are just a few factors that have contributed to a massive Colorado solar panels cost decrease of 64 percent in just the last five years.
Because Colorado’s solar potential is so promising, the state offers a number of rebates and incentives sponsored by utilities and organizations in the local community. One such utility is Holy Cross Energy. Holy Cross offers its customers a savings of $750 per kilowatt for systems up to 6.0 kilowatts. Additional kilowatts come with incentives as well, though the savings per kilowatt is incrementally decreased as the size of the system increases.
Another incentive program is available through EnergySmart Colorado. The organization partners with local utilities to offer rebates to customers who are making the leap to solar energy Colorado in Gunnison, Lake, Summit, Archuleta, La Plata, Routt and Moffat Counties. Many customers in Eagle Valley and Roaring Fork Valley are also eligible. The savings depends on the county and the programs offered by the local utility provider, but these programs are a great way to reduce the cost of a new solar installation.
Solar energy may seem out of reach if you don’t own your own home, don’t have the money to invest in a new installation or simply don’t have a suitable space for solar panels. It doesn’t need to be. Colorado is one of the most popular states for community solar initiatives, allowing virtually anyone to get in on the solar energy movement. Community solar allows residents to invest in a large, shared solar energy installation. In return, subscribers are given credits for their share of the renewable energy produced. Colorado offers more than 70 distinct community solar projects, providing plenty of options in situations where a residential solar system isn’t feasible.
In addition to the generous local incentives, solar panel installers in Colorado may also be eligible for one of the state’s excellent net metering programs. There are only two investor-owned energy providers in Colorado – Xcel Energy and Black Hills Energy – and both of them offer net metering. Xcel Energy is particularly regarded as having a superior net metering policy, offering several ways to apply earned credits and featuring no cap at the state level. Colorado’s dozens of other local utilities and energy cooperatives are not required to offer net metering, but the program is available through some providers.
There are a number of other factors that make solar panel installation Colorado more affordable as well. Several tax incentives are also available to reduce costs. The Sales and Use Tax Exemption eliminates taxes on certain solar energy equipment purchases. The Property Tax Exemption, meanwhile, prevents homeowners from having to pay taxes on any home value increases that come about as a result of installing certain renewable energy systems. The Colorado General Assembly also recently passed an extension of a rule that puts a cap on the fees that can be charged for solar energy installations.
A more creative way to save money through solar is a program that provides benefits for anyone who installs a renewable energy system within the first 120 days of buying a home. The program provides a benefit that varies depending on how much the system improves the efficiency of the home. Solar panels Colorado may also qualify for the investment tax credit (ITC). Also known as the federal solar tax credit, this program offers a tax incentive equal to 30 percent of the cost of a new solar installation.
When it comes to solar Colorado is undoubtedly one of the leading states in the country. Abundant sunshine, state support and favorable incentives and regulations make solar power Colorado a winning choice for many residents. Prices continue to fall and new solar installations are coming online every day, making it clear that solar power has a very bright future in the Rocky Mountain State.
Interested in getting exact prices for the cost solar for your home? Get competitive solar quotes from qualified, trusted installers in your area. To see an estimate for how much you could expect to save and how much a solar system would cost, try our solar calculator.