Did you know that the sun gives us enough energy in an hour and a half to fill the entire world's energy consumption for a year?
We let a lot of energy go to waste every day. However, there is a way to maximize your savings and play a positive role in saving the planet.
If you don't have solar panels in Colorado powering your home, this article is for you. We are going to tell you everything you need to know about getting a solar panel system and how to get a tax credit.
How Do Solar Panels Work
The most common types of solar technology are photovoltaic (PV) and concentrating solar-thermal power (CSP). As sunlight hits photovoltaic panels, the cells absorb the energy, through an internal response in the cell, the energy is converted into electricity.
For these PV cells to work, there must be an electrical field. This is created when there is negative and positive charges are separated. This energy can be used to power our homes and businesses, or it can be stored, for example, in batteries.
The CSP system works a little differently. This technology uses mirrors to reflect the sunlight onto receivers that collect the light, turn it into heat, and then it converts it into energy.
It can then, also be stored or used. This system is typically used for larger power plants instead of homes.
Types of Panels
There are a few different types of solar panels in Colorado. Typically, the company you purchase your panels from will advise you on which ones are the best for your home.
Solar Photovoltaic (PV) Panels, also known as Crystalline Silicon panels, are the most common as they are really efficient, which makes them a great option if you have a smaller roof. Thin film solar panels are much more flexible than PV panels. However, they only reach about 6% to 11% efficiency while the PVs reach about 20%.
You'll need more of the thin film panels in order to get enough energy. Solar thermal panels are often used for commercial buildings and businesses more than for homes.
One main reason people invest in solar panels is to reduce their electric bills. You won't be spending as much money every month and you'll get some of what you spent installing them back from the government.
By having solar panels you'll also be taking a step towards energy independence. You'll be safe when electricity rates rise due to bad weather too.
Solar panels also reduce your carbon footprint. Solar panels are commonly known for being a green renewable resource because there is no carbon dioxide released into the air.
Buying vs Leasing
You do have the option to lease solar panels if you don't want to purchase them. While leasing does give more families and homes the opportunity to use solar panels, it may not be worth the money to rent them.
Typically, solar panels will add value to your home. If you spend thousands of dollars on the panels, you'll likely get that money back when you sell your house. However, if you don't own them, this isn't an option.
You'll have to pay a monthly fee to the company you're renting from each month. You also may not qualify for state or federal incentives. If you don't want to purchase solar panels because of the upfront cost, you can use a community solar program.
This program in Colorado allows communities in the area to pull energy from a single solar farm. This option allows more people to have access to solar energy. Customers will receive a credit on their utility bill for what they used, so you don't have to worry about paying for anyone else's usage.
If your roof is in the shade, you may not be able to install panels; this would be a great alternative. If you're renting, you won't be able to purchase and install solar panels. The Community Solar Programs will allow you to use solar energy even though you don't own your home.
Solar Panel Replacement
Solar panels are incredibly durable and typically manufacturers give 20 to 30-year warranties. However, they can last up to 50 years.
While there are warranties in place, it's important that you look them over. Most of the time the manufacturers only guarantee the solar panels will give off 90% production after 10 years and then 80% after 20 years.
Just like anything, wear and tear does affect how well the solar panels work. Every year the solar cells degrade by less than 1%. There are parts within the panel that are essential and may not last as long as the panel itself. For example, the inverter may need to be replaced sooner, and it's likely there's a warranty for 12 to 15 years.
Cost and Incentives
The price for solar panels ranges from $3,500 to $16,000. There is a large price range because there are many variants that affect the cost.
How many panels do you need? What type of panels are you purchasing? You also have to factor in the cost of labor.
Federal Tax Credit
The federal government is encouraging homeowners to invest in solar panels by offering incentives. Once you have purchased and installed them, your solar panels can claim a percentage back.
In 2019, the rebate was 30% every year since the rebate has decreased slightly. If you have your panels installed in 2022, there is a 22% solar tax credit. At this time, incentives are set to expire by 2024; however, it's likely the government will extend them again.
Colorado State Incentives
If your property taxes increase because you installed solar panels, you won't be required to pay an extra amount. Through the Miguel Power Association Rebate Program, if you use this utility, you'll qualify for a rebate as well. If you reside in Boulder, Colorado, you'll receive 15% of the dale back after the panels are in place.
Depending on where you live in Colorado, you may be able to sell your extra energy back to the power grid. There may be times of the year when you don't use or need as much, electricity so selling it may be a great option. This is through the Net Metering Programs.
Be sure to check the county you live in as they might be offering tax credits too. There are some solar panel businesses that have deals as well.
Solar Panel Installation
How the solar panels are installed is important. If they aren't placed correctly, they may not work as well or as efficiently. Typically, the installer places them on the roof south-facing. The panels will likely be tilted too.
This is beneficial in the winter as the sun doesn't get as high as it does in the summer months. However, when it comes to tilting the panels, the installer must be sure the wind won't cause a lifting effect. If the wind gets underneath them, they could be ripped off your roof by a strong storm.
Weather in CO
You may be wondering if the Colorado weather will affect your panels and the amount of energy you'll get. The panels do need to be in direct sunlight the majority of the time. This won't be a problem as Colorado has a prominently, 300 sunny days.
You may be thinking about all the snow that Colorado has in the winter. The panels are placed at an angle so some of the snow will blow off.
However, when snowfall is heavier than a dusting, you'll see your roof covered in snow but the panels will be clean. This is because the solar panels are warm from absorbing sunlight and converting it into energy.
Solar Panel Upkeep
If you're worried about maintaining and caring for your solar panels, don't be. One of the great things about solar panels is that they require very little maintenance.
You'll want to have a professional come out once a year to inspect the panels to ensure they are working correctly. Having an inspection will help ensure your solar panels stay in good working condition.
Rainfall can help keep dirt off the panels: however, storms can blow more debris onto them. Having your panels cleaned about twice a year is recommended as it will keep them running smoothly.
Other than two cleanings and one inspection, the only time you'll need to do anything is if the panels stop working properly. You'll know if something is wrong if they stop producing as much energy and your electric bill goes up.
Hiring someone to clean the panels is the best option because climbing on the roof can be dangerous and you don't want to risk falling. You'll likely pay around $150 per cleaning and for the inspection, making your yearly maintenance bill about $450. If your solar panels in Colorado break or get damaged, your bill will increase due to the repairs.
Finding A Company
When you're looking for a company to purchase your solar panels from, there are a few things you need to be on the lookout for. Looking at online reviews can be helpful, you don't need to disregard a company if they have one or two bad reviews.
However, if they have more than three or four, you may want to move on to the next company. Asking friends, family, and neighbors for company recommendations is a great way to find a reputable company.
When you're talking to energy companies, be sure they are knowledgable. A good company will encourage energy-saving habits and tell you how to decrease your bill. They will also get you an estimate of how much you'll be spending once the solar panels are in place.
Before agreeing to work with a company, be sure they are using quality equipment. You can ask about their manufacturers and the work experience of their installers.
Installing solar panels is a big investment and it's normal to have questions. Here are a few common ones that people have asked in the past.
Will Solar Panels Increase My Home's Value?
Yes, the amount of value that solar panels add to a home varies. Typically, for every $1 that is reduced from a utility bill, adds $20 to the home's worth. For example, if you save $300 on your electric bill in one year, about $6,000 will be added to the value of your home.
However, it's important to note that this isn't always the case. Some people see solar panels as a great addition, while other people may think the opposite. When you're selling your home, you'll need to find the right buyer who sees value in the panels.
If you live in an HOA community, it's important that you check with the board or review the neighborhood guidelines before having panels installed.
How Do I Care For Solar Panels?
Hiring someone is the best way to keep your panels in good shape. If you decide to clean your panels yourself, you run the risk of damaging them and injuring yourself.
How Can I Pay For Solar Panels?
There are a few different ways you can pay for your panels. Purchasing them outright is an option.
This will require you to have a large chunk of money saved up. You can also get a loan or finance your panels, which can be helpful if you aren't ready to buy them outright.
Solar Panels in Colorado
If you're considering installing solar panels in Colorado, now is the time to do it. You can still receive a tax credit from the government, increasing the amount of money you can save. You'll also be increasing your home's value and reducing your carbon footprint.
If you're ready to start saving money and the planet, contact us here. We'll give you a quote and answer any questions you have. We've installed hundreds of solar panels for homeowners, and we can help you too.