Does Solar Make Sense in Denver?
We’ve written before about the many benefits of installing solar panels in Colorado as a whole. But what about the Mile High City specifically?
More and more cities are investing in solar power, and Denver is no exception. Last year, the Denver City Council approved a $26 million contract to install solar panels in multiple locations. These and other solar installation projects will further the goal of the Office of Climate Action, Sustainability and Resiliency to transition Denver to 100% renewable energy by 2030.
Homeowners in Denver are embracing renewable and sustainable technology as well. There are many reasons to go solar in Denver, including:
The Denver Real Estate Market Is Hot, and Homes with Solar Are a Hot Commodity!
Demand for homes in Denver has grown significantly in recent years, creating a competitive market where sellers rule. The average price of a home in Denver is around $700,000, with experts predicting that this trend will continue in 2022.
Solar panels are one of the most sought-after features buyers look for in a home. There are many reasons that a solar energy system is such a draw, including:
- Lower energy costs
- Increased concern about the environment
- Better home efficiency
- Greater ability to monitor and manage how much energy is consumed
- Reliable long-term energy production – solar panels are built to last, and they require little to no maintenance to operate efficiently for decades
Denver is an environmentally minded city that draws people who care about being green. As a result, installing solar panels adds a massive amount of value to your home.
If you are planning to move, a solar energy system is an investment that can increase the price you expect to fetch when the house goes on the market. And, even if you don’t plan to move or you have found your “forever home,” going solar still adds value and can result in years of savings on your energy bills.
Xcel Energy Supports Solar
The Denver metro area is powered by Xcel Energy. Xcel has instituted a number of programs to encourage customers to install solar energy systems, including:
The Solar*Rewards program is available to residential and business customers of Xcel Energy. If your solar energy system generates more electricity than you consume, Xcel Energy will credit you for the surplus in exchange for renewable energy credits. This is known as a net metering incentive, and it enhances the already substantial cost savings of solar by putting more money back in your pocket.
Eligibility for Solar*Rewards is dependent on the following:
- Your Xcel account number must be active and match Xcel’s records
- The premises number (i.e., the code Xcel uses to identify your home or business) must be valid
- All solar equipment (including solar panels, inverters, etc.) must meet the UL 1741 standard
- The equipment must be listed by the California Energy Commission
- You need to carry the appropriate liability insurance for the generating capacity of your solar energy system
- The expected power output must not surpass 200% of your historical electricity usage (based on Xcel Energy’s record of your home energy consumption)
A knowledgeable solar installation contractor can help you assess your energy usage, determine if you are eligible for Solar*Rewards, and design and build a system that qualifies for the incentive. When you work with a contractor approved by Xcel Energy, Xcel will reimburse you 60% of the cost of the audit (up to $200).
The majority of eligible homeowners will qualify for the Solar*Rewards Small Program (for system sizes of 25 KW DC or less), which compensates you at the rate of $0.005 per kilowatt hour produced. High-performance solar panels generate hundreds of kilowatt-hours of electricity per year, representing a significant credit for homeowners who participate in Solar*Rewards.
Xcel Energy also provides incentives to homeowners and businesses that choose to participate in community solar gardens. Multiple solar gardens are active in the Denver metro area, including two operated by the Denver Housing Authority. Participants in the Solar*Rewards Community program receive bill credits for the electricity they use via the solar garden instead of relying on power from the grid.
Battery Connect is one of the newest renewable energy programs from Xcel. The pilot program is an incentive for the owners of electric vehicles to help Xcel assess the impact of solar EV charging on the power grid.
Participants in Battery Connect will be paid $1,250 upfront. To participate, you must own or lease either a Tesla Powerwall II or a SolarEdge inverter for charging electric vehicles. You must also be connected to the power grid maintained by Xcel Energy, as well as manage EV charging via the Internet.
Over the course of a year, Xcel will discharge up to 80% of the battery (i.e., release energy from the battery to the grid) during times of peak energy demand. The utility will then recharge the battery at times when demand is lower.
Solar Is Affordable in Denver
The most recent report from the Solar Energy Industries Association found that the price of going solar in Colorado has dropped 11% over the last 5 years. This continues an ongoing trend that sees solar energy systems becoming affordable for more and more homeowners.
Cost is one of the major factors every homeowner should take into account when deciding whether to invest in solar. Before giving in to sticker shock, however, it is important to be aware of the incentives that immediately reduce what you have to pay.
For example, the federal government offers a 26% tax credit when you install solar panels. Although Colorado does not offer a state tax deduction or credit on solar energy systems, homeowners in Denver and throughout the state are not required to pay sales tax on solar panels and related equipment. In addition, your property taxes will not go up if you install a solar energy system.
These incentives, paired with the programs offered by Xcel Energy discussed above, make residential solar energy significantly more cost effective than your initial cost estimates might show. According to EnergySage, the estimated time period for the cost of a solar energy system in Denver to be fully paid off is approximately 11 years. We have found, however, that many homeowners are able to pay off the entire upfront cost in as little as 7 years.
Denver’s Climate Is Great for Solar
No discussion of why solar makes sense in Denver would be complete without talking about the weather. Although last year The Denver Post busted the myth of Colorado’s 300 days of sunshine (apparently Denver only has about 100 totally sunny days on average), the climate in Denver is nonetheless very favorable for solar energy.
Why? Because solar panels capture the sun’s rays even on cloudy days. Although solar energy production is optimal when there isn’t a cloud in the sky, your system will still generate electricity if the forecast is only partly sunny.
Properly positioning your solar panels is essential for maximizing the sunlight exposure. This will ensure that you get the most energy every day whether the sun is shining or just peeking out from behind the clouds.
Find Out If Denver Solar Is Right for You
Denver offers a number of advantages for homeowners who want to go solar and make other energy efficiency improvements. However, the decision must ultimately come down to individual factors such as your goals, your home energy consumption, and more.
At REenergizeCO, we customize solar design and installation to your needs. We start each project with a home energy audit to determine the potential savings you may be able to enjoy with solar, as well as the issues that might need to be addressed to improve efficiency.
Our solar crew is knowledgeable, professional, and courteous. We take great pride in our work, which has enabled us to become one of the most trusted names in solar installation throughout the Denver metro area.
REenergizeCO is also more than an installation company. We help you apply for all rebates and other incentives to help you start enjoying a return on investment right away for your solar home energy system.
Find out how our Denver solar company can help you save on energy and up the efficiency of your house. Contact REenergizeCO today to schedule your initial home visit. Our solar crew serves homeowners in Denver and throughout the Colorado Front Range.