Below, you will find some of the most requested information from our experience talking with people about solar. Click any of the links above to jump to a category you're interested in, or simply scroll to browse all the information we have to offer.
If you have any questions we haven't yet answered, feel free to send them our way and we're happy to answer them for you!
Benefits of Solar
Homeowners, Businesses, and Corporations all spend a large part of their monthly budgets on electric expenses. You have to have electricity, why not cut back on what you pay your utility company? Instead, use that money to pay for a solar system that you own.
Over the 40+ year lifespan of your solar panels, the money that you redirect will more than pay for the system. You will use the electricity your system produces while you are making payments, and even after your payments end you still get all the electricity.
The money you save will equal or surpass the initial system value, saving you thousands of dollars.
Create A Better Environment
Look, you're not "saving the world" by getting solar for your home like a lot of people like to say. But you are doing your part in a pretty significant way. It's all about reducing your carbon footprint.
Individually, the electricity we use everyday in our homes is the single largest footprint that we leave on this earth. If you have a solar home, you are eliminating that almost completely. So you can definitely say that you are doing your part.
Collectively, as more and more buildings switch to solar electricity, we'll get to the point where we start to see a change for a cleaner environment. And even at that, solar will play a small part. It's a small percentage that use solar electricity, although growing very rapidly every year.
It's still not too late to consider yourself an early adopter!
Create Energy Independence
Every hour enough energy to fuel the entire USA lands within our borders. Solar energy is fueling more and more of our needs every year. As technology and energy needs intersect, we will be less reliant on imported fossil fuel. Good news for liberty, independence and a clean future.
If you'd like to find out more about the future of renewable energy, check out National Renewable Energy Laboratory's study.
Create Local Jobs
Clean energy employers expect to hire nearly 1,500 people in the next year - a 2% growth rate.
Energy efficiency is the state’s largest clean energy sector, with more than 40,000 people working in industries such as high-efficiency lighting, Energy Star appliance manufacturing, and high-efficiency heating and cooling services for homes, schools, and businesses.
More than 14,000 people work in the renewable energy sector, including nearly 7,000 people in the solar industry and another 6,500 in the wind sector.
When you buy solar, you play a part in the growth of these numbers.
Electricity is something that is an afterthought when moving into a brand new home or building. We hook up to whatever utility serves that particular territory, pay their rates every month no matter what they charge and you don't "shop around" for a better service or better prices. Most don't even know what they pay, they just pay it! It's a necessity of everyday life and because of this, utilities have arguably taken advantage of this in many different ways.
Finally, we have another option when it comes to our electricity.
Solar is simply Option B. It's another avenue for homeowners and business owners to explore with something they have no control over right now (and quite frankly never have).
Take control over the money you are already spending and put it toward something that not only produces cleaner energy but increases your home value and saves you money over time.
When you own a solar panel system, there are some incentives available to you! This is one of the reasons why so many have been able to take advantage of solar and why owning solar has become so affordable.
Now, things always tend to change with solar incentives so we'll always do our best to keep this section up-to-date!
Below is what is currently available here in Colorado.
This is the big one! The solar federal tax credit, or the Investment Tax Credit (ITC), is a credit that you're able to file for when you purchase a solar panel system for your home, commercial property or investment property. It is equal to exactly 30% of the total value (or cost) of your system.
Most people apply the credit that they receive towards paying off nearly a third of the system right away - within the first year of getting installed! It lowers your overall net cost.
Now, there are many solar-specific financing options out there that consider the fact that the tax credit is something that you'll receive after you get installed and may want to use toward paying off your system. Many of these options allow for you to wait until that time comes, keeping your monthly payment very affordable in the meantime!
Everyone's taxes work differently so, of course, always consult with your tax advisor when the time comes for specific information on how the ITC will work for you.
Many people tend to confuse the tax credit with a rebate (and vise versa). But they are two entirely different things! The tax credit is a credit to your taxes when you file for your federal taxes while rebates are generally paid to the homeowner by the utility company, just for installing solar. The tax credit far exceeds the amount that any utility rebate offers.
Not all utilities in Colorado currently offer a rebate. Only a select few still offer a rebate as of 2017 (i.e. Xcel, Ft. Collins, CO Springs, Frederick...etc).
If your utility company offers a rebate, each works differently depending on the utility. Some send you a check for the full amount immediately after you get solar installed, or pay you monthly (for a certain number of years). They're all different. And they range anywhere from $100 - $1,500 per system.
You can always visit your specific utility company's website to learn if yours offers a rebate and how it's calculated.
There are also many ways to take advantage of tax deductions whether it's a residential, commercial or investment property.
Again, always consult with a tax advisor as each have different deductions that can be applied.
When it comes to a commercial property and an investment property, depreciation may also be a tax incentive!
Owning your solar array will increase your property value the moment it is turned on. According to EnergySage.com; Remodeling 2016 Cost vs. Value Report (www.costvsvalue.com), the cost recouped of an average solar panel system is 154.4%, compared to a Minor Kitchen Remodel (83.1%). We are paying for electricity either way. But with solar you’re simply transferring the money from the utility to an asset to your home which increases your home value significantly. Not many investments eliminate a bill for you and so you can use that money for the investment.
As utility rates increase, so does the value of your solar array. Every time the utility raises their rates, the production value of your system increases. But it gets even better. Homes that already have solar ownership on their roof sell almost 20% faster than homes without solar, or with a leased solar system.
Hail & Weather Damage
If you're worried about hail and snow, don't be! The panels are very durable and can withstand more than your actual roof - think of them as an extra layer of protection that also helps pay your electric bills. Trust us, we've tested them. And as far as snow goes - especially here in Colorado, any significant snow will melt off quickly and not pose a problem to your solar electricity generation.
But if you do incur physical damage your existing home owners insurance covers your system.
Warranties & Coverage
Most manufacturers carry a 25 year warranty on their panels and a 12 year warranty on their inverters. We make sure that you are covered with a workmanship warranty as well. This means that your solar array will be maintained and serviced as needed in a timely fashion. We go beyond manufacturer coverages.
How Long Will it take?
This varies from installer to installer. It also depends on your utility, where you live and your own schedule.
There is a lot that takes place from day one to install. So depending on the variables mentioned above, especially the installer you choose, the process to get you installed can take anywhere between 30 days to 6 months. The actual installation itself only takes 2-4 days, on average.
We've typically found that going with a local, Colorado-owned solar panel company can allow for a much quicker installation process as opposed to a larger, national solar company. There are many reasons for this but the main factors are scheduling, the number of installs ahead of you, customer service and communication. You want to ensure that you choose a company that you trust will do a great job with all of these things and give you a great experience.
At Own Solar Colorado, we've partnered with a great local Colorado solar provider that fits all the needs to ensure a great installation process experience. Quick, easy and full transparency.
Ask us anytime about how to choose the best solar provider for you that will provide a great overall experience from start to finish - and beyond.
We feel that the most important thing to consider when exploring solar for your property is not just simply the lowest price, it's the solar provider that you choose. You don't want any surprises down the road!
Below is a step-by-step process of what's involved with a solar installation:
Choose you solar provider
Decide on your financing preference
Home & Roof Inspection
Solar provider applies for any Rebates available
Solar Provider Applies for Permit
- Approval can be quick or time-consuming depending on your city
Schedule your Installation
Get installed (2-4 days, pending weather)
Final inspection with your city (usually within a few days)
Utility installs your Net Meter
After step 10, you will officially be producing solar electricity!
In terms of step 5, a lot of people worry whether or not their Home Owners Association (HOA) will allow solar. Don't worry, they will! By law, they must. Even if they are very strict on other things, they always must approve the solar panel system for your home. It's as simple as sending them the final design and they simply approve it and send it back! Easy peasy. Your solar provider should help you through this.
Will it be intrusive?
There are very few penetrations to the roof when installing a solar panel system on your home or property. This is in order to tightly secure the system into the structure of your home, as opposed to simply securing them directly to your roof. But don't worry, everything is properly sealed with leak-proof sealant as well as a footer on the base of the racking system. As long as your installer is certified by the North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP) and properly licensed & insured, you should have no worries. You also want to make sure that there is at least a 5-year workmanship warranty.
You can also consider installing a ground-mount system, as long as you have the property for it, which would not involve a roof mount. But this should only be considered if you do not have sufficient roof space on your building. It does make sense, though, in certain scenarios.
Net metering allows solar homeowners who generate some or all of their own electricity to use that electricity anytime in the future, instead of when it is generated. It varies from utility to utility on how it is kept track of and how it is returned to the homeowner. When you own solar, you own all of the electricity that your solar panel system produces. Utilities have different policies on how that electricity is returned to you; either in the form of a monthly/annual rollover, a monetary credit to your account.
Contact your local utility, or contact us, to find out exactly how your utility's net metering policy works.
According various research and data, utility electricity rates in Colorado have steadily increased around 4% annually over the last 15-20 years. This is just an average among all utilities. Some have increased more and some less. There are years where prices increase by more than 4% and some less or not at all.
But if there's anything to learn from historical data when it comes to the cost of electricity is that it increases! Some utilities more than others and it's only going to get worse for a variety of reasons: A limited supply of resources (i.e. coal) and the cost of improving a very outdated infrastructure.
For example, all Xcel Energy homeowners recently (as of late 2017) have received a letter in the mail titled, "Important Notice About Your Energy Prices and Electric Service". On the back of this letter there is a chart that breaks down the recently proposed rate hikes by Xcel for the next four years through 2021, to be reviewed by the PUC. In this letter, Xcel is proposing that by 2021, customers will pay approximately 16% more than current rates. And keep in mind, this does not include all of the fees that are being charged based on how much electricity a customer uses from Xcel. These are just pure electricity rates.
So a homeowner with solar, in essence, will not only be avoiding these future rate increases, but also all of the additional fees associated with the amount of electricity that a homeowner consumes. These confusing fees on your bill tend to not only increase in numbers but also in price. So avoiding these fees end up saving solar panel owners a lot more money other than just the rates charged for electricity!
Front Range Providers who Participate
All utilities in the Front Range of Colorado currently have a net metering program to allow for solar installations. Again, please check with your utility's website to check if there is a small connection fee and how exactly the excess solar electricity that you produce is credited back to you.
We will be sure to keep you updated in this section if there are any drastic changes with any utility that may prohibit homeowners or business owners from installing solar on their property.
Ask Us Anything
Have a question about solar we haven't covered? We'd love to answer it for you.
Just fill out this form (with your email so that we can follow up with you directly) and the answer will be yours - and everyone else's.