If you love the idea of cheap, clean, reliable energy, a solar system can be an excellent home upgrade. However, before you start this project, it’s helpful to learn a little about the types of expenses you can expect. How much will it cost to add solar energy to your home? The answer to this question depends on things like what type of solar you want and how large of a system you need. Explore our guide to learn all the details on how much it costs to install solar.
Average Costs for Colorado Solar Installation
On average, the typical Colorado homeowner pays between $19,578 and $28,722 for their solar panel installation. Expenses can vary quite a bit depending on your electrical needs though. Some people pay as little as $15,000 while others pay as much as $33,000 for solar.
The main reason for this variation is just size. As you can probably guess, a homeowner who wants to run their entire house on solar will pay more for installation than a homeowner who just wants a single panel to power some lights. Therefore, we typically estimate prices with a cost-per-watt measurement that tells you how much you pay for the amount of wattage you need. The average cost per watt in Colorado is between $2.92 to $3.94.
Factors That Affect Solar Panel Installation Costs
Why is there so much variation in solar costs? A lot of factors go into the typical Colorado solar estimate. Understanding how solar pricing works can help you make smart choices and find a solar system that works with your lifestyle and your budget.
Most residential solar panels are installed on either the roof or the ground. Usually, a roof-mounted system is cheaper because the support structure for the solar panels is already in place. Meanwhile, on the ground, you have to pay extra to build the racks that hold the panels. This results in extra parts and labor, so prices can get a lot higher.
Solar Panel Type
Not all solar panels are equal. Some residential systems use thin film solar panels which are cheaper. However, this type has less solar efficiency, so it won’t produce as much power. Meanwhile, crystalline panels produce more energy and have a longer lifespan, but they cost more upfront. You’ll need to weigh the pros and cons and pick a type that suits your budget.
Though labor costs are usually bundled into the quote a Colorado solar company gives you, they’re still a big factor. Typically, about 10 percent of the total cost for installation is the cost of labor. However, if the company knows that your project will need extra work, they’ll quote you a higher cost to cover the extra hours of labor. Things like irregular angles on your roof or skylights that get in the way of installation will increase prices. You might also need to pay more if you want the solar company to help you with things like clearing shrubs away from the installation site.
Types of Electrical Components
There is a lot of supporting infrastructure and equipment associated with solar panel installation. Little things like the types of inverters you use to connect your panels can affect the price. It can cost more to use higher-end components like micro inverters. There are also costs associated with connecting to the existing power grid. If your panels are farther away from your home or electrical grid interconnection points, it will be more expensive.
How to Reduce Your Expenses With Incentives
The good news is that you don’t necessarily have to pay all of these costs yourself. There are a lot of incentives you can use to lower your solar expenses. The federal government offers an incentive in the form of the Residential Clean Energy Credit. This credit lets you deduct up to 30 percent of the entire costs of installation from your taxes. If you take this credit, you end up paying far less in taxes.
There are also some local and statewide incentives available for people who install solar. Colorado offers tax breaks to all people who install solar. You don’t have to pay sales tax on the equipment you purchase, and you don’t have to pay a higher property tax due to the increased value of your home. Organizations like EnergySmart Colorado and Holy Cross Energy also offer rebates of $400 to $3,000 for qualifying Colorado residents.
How Long Will It Take for Savings to Offset Solar Costs?
Of course, one of the main reasons people want to know about solar prices in Colorado is because they want to see whether or not a solar installation will save them money in the long run. All the months of free power certainly add up. Over time, the money you save on your electric bill offsets the price of installation.
Based on current electricity costs in Colorado and average solar panel usage, most residents recoup the cost of their investment within 12.13 years. Since the average solar panel system lasts 25 to 30 years, you can have decades of completely free power after you recover your initial costs.
Keep in mind that these estimates are based on current electricity prices, so you might recover your expenses sooner than expected. A lot of electric companies in Colorado are randomly increasing prices lately. With solar, you don’t have to worry about price raises in the future, so if your local utility costs go up, your savings will add up more quickly.
Ultimately, a Colorado home solar installation can be a smart choice for the budget-conscious homeowner. If you’d like a personalized estimate, Impact Energy can help. Our team is happy to assess your home and figure out exactly how much it would cost to install solar. Contact Impact Energy today to learn more.