A Guide to Denver Solar Panel Roof Installation
Most people associate Denver and the surrounding area with snow, skiing, and blizzards. However, a lesser-known fact is that Denver is also one of the sunniest cities in the United States; it averages around 300 days of sunshine a year. This, combined with the lower average temperatures in Colorado can make Denver a perfect city for solar energy systems.
Residents across Denver are covering the roofs of their homes and garages with solar panels. Roofing contractors, like PRQ Exteriors, are now offering services to support these upgrades. In this helpful guide on solar panel roofing installation, we’ll cover what solar energy systems are, how they work, and why they’re worth the investment.
What are Solar Panels?
Solar panels represent a significant leap forward in the renewable energy field. A solar panel system collects light energy from the sun and converts it into electricity that can be used or stored for later. In some cities, solar panel owners can even sell this accumulated energy back to their local power companies to make an extra buck!
How Do Solar Panels Work?
Solar panels are made up of photovoltaic cells. These cells, absorb photons from the sun’s light, which knocks electrons loose from the cell. The design of the cell forces these electrons down a ‘channel,’ guiding them to metal conductive plates that direct them into wires. These wires channel the electrons into an inverter that converts them into Alternating Current (AC). This system creates electricity that is now available for use or storage.
What are the Benefits of Solar Panels?
Installing solar panels on the roof of your home or business can offer many immediate benefits. Solar panel systems can help homeowners eliminate or reduce their electric bills by providing electricity for day-to-day use and storing energy for the long term. Not only do they help cut your bills down, but they do it in an environmentally sustainable way. Solar panels can be viewed as “guilt-free” energy because they generate power without the heavy use of fossil fuels.
Professionally installed solar panels can have a considerable positive impact on the value of your home. Solar is a booming industry, and more and more potential buyers are looking for homes with solar systems already installed. There are also additional economic incentives for roof solar panels through tax credits, renewable energy and solar incentive programs, and other less immediate benefits.
Eliminate Electric Bills
According to EnergySage, Colorado homeowners, on average, save more than $18,000 in utility costs over 20 years following the installation of their solar panels. And this is after the upfront costs have been paid off! The majority of residences report that anywhere from 80% to 108% of their regular electricity needs are offset by their solar systems. When you consider that the average American family spends nearly $1,500 a year on fossil fuel energy, you can see how quickly the savings can add up!
Solar is a Clean and Renewable Energy Source
A study by the Union of Concerned Scientists found that energy gained from solar panels is far cleaner and more self-sustaining than regular fossil fuels. For example, around 29% of America’s global warming emissions (like carbon dioxide or methane) are from our electrical needs, with most of those emissions resulting from fossil fuel use. When you break down the number of pollutants generated as a by-product of energy production, the numbers are clear: Burning fossil fuels can generate as much as 2 pounds of carbon dioxide per kilowatt-hour of electricity. To provide the same amount of power, solar panels only produce 0.07 to 0.2 pounds of by-products.
Not only are solar panels cleaner than fossil fuels, but they are a more sustainable solution in the long run. When it comes to fossil fuels, the clock is ticking. These fuels are not renewable resources and are bound to run dry sooner or later. In contrast, the sun isn’t going anywhere!
Increase the Value of Your Home
It’s no secret that while solar panels offer considerable savings in the long term, there is an upfront cost. As a result, potential home buyers in the Denver area are much more likely to pay more for a home that has already been upgraded.
Zillow completed a survey that revealed homes with solar panels sell for at least 4.1% more, citing the massive future cost savings as a significant incentive for buyers to spend more on their new homes.
Common Questions About Solar Panel Installation
The world of solar energy contains a lot of new and unfamiliar information for the average homeowner. It’s natural to have many questions. Some of the more commonly asked questions are:
- How much does the initial installation cost?
- Is the weather in my area ideal for installing solar panels?
- How do solar panels affect my roof, and will they cause any damage once they’re installed?
- Is it worth it to make the switch to solar?
Solar Panel Upfront Costs
The upfront cost of professionally installed solar panels in Colorado is one of the main concerns of many people looking to make the switch. It’s not uncommon for installations to run upwards of $10,000, depending on the square footage of your roof and other factors. But, this cost isn’t the deal-breaker it may seem to be at first. Most solar installers offer financing options to help with the upfront cost, and there are even ‘solar loans’ that can be secured for no money down.
While the upfront cost can be intimidating, remember that solar is a long game; the idea is to pay off the upfront costs with the savings from your reduced utility bills until you make your initial investment back (and then some)!
How Much Does It Cost to Install Solar Panels in Colorado?
It costs an average of $12,000-$18,000 for a complete solar panel system installation in Colorado. This number changes based on your roofs’ square footage, angle, age, or structural concerns. It also includes any local permit costs that may apply. Out of those factors, the square footage and angle of your roof are often the most important in determining cost; solar panels are most efficient when installed at an angle that allows them to absorb the most sunlight. If your roof is flat or at an angle that makes it difficult for the panels to do their job, additional steps must be taken to install the panels at an effective angle.
How Long is the Payback Period for Solar Panels?
When you consider the upfront cost of installing solar panels, it’s essential to ask how long it will take for your investment to pay off. Many variables affect how long it will take, including your home’s average electrical usage, any solar incentives in your area, and the current cost of electricity.
The average payback period in the United States sits between 10 and 12 years. In Denver, the average payback period is only 9 to 11 years.
Dependent on Weather
Naturally, how effective your solar panels are is entirely dependent on your local weather. While many states offer tax credit and rebate programs for homeowners that go solar and can offset unfavorable weather conditions, having a high amount of yearly sunshine is critical when it comes to switching to a solar panel system.
Are Denver Weather Conditions Ideal for Solar Panels?
Denver and the surrounding areas are known across the United States as gateways to some of the country’s best skiing and snowboarding venues. There’s a tendency to associate winter and snow with plenty of dreary, cloudy days. In reality, Denver is one of the sunniest cities in the country. It boasts as many as 300 days of sun a year.
Solar panels are also most effective at a lower temperature than you would expect – they perform optimally around 77 degrees Fahrenheit. Meaning there are plenty of Colorado summer days where the temperature is ideal for solar energy production.
How Will My Roofing Be Affected by Solar Panels?
Many homeowners have a common concern when considering solar panel installation: whether or not the process will damage or cause other problems with their roof. When a professional roofing contractor completes the installation, though, there is no need to worry. PRQ Exteriors certified roofing experts know how to safely and effectively install solar panels onto all kinds of roofs, from asphalt shingles to tile. They will account for your roofs’ unique construction to find the best solution.
How Solar Panel Installation Works On Your Roof
Instead of being installed directly onto your roof, solar panels sit on racks mounted in place with lag bolts drilled into your roof. This is one of the key reasons a professional roofing contractor is needed. Drilling holes in your roof can cause leaks and other structural concerns if done incorrectly. Once the holes have been drilled, flashing (thin, flexible pieces of metal designed to keep water from leaking through roofing penetrations) is installed and further sealed. Sealant is also used around the bolts holding the racks in place, further increasing the waterproofing. In the event that your roof or the panels need repair or replacement, your repair technician can temporarily remove the racks with less trouble than if the entire panel was mounted to the roof itself.
Aside from potential leaks, many homeowners worry about the increase in weight that comes with solar panel installation. Aside from the weight of the panels themselves, Denver is no stranger to snow accumulation on roofs. But solar panels don’t add any additional concern, because they are installed at an angle. So even in the winter, snow cannot build up and create potential points of failure due to the solar panels. It’s safe to say that modern roofs are designed to bear an incredible amount of weight, so as long as your panels are professionally installed, the weight won’t be an issue for your roofing.
Is Installing Solar Panels Worth It In Denver?
Denver has been considered one of the best cities in the United States for solar energy for quite a few years now. A combination of consistently sunny weather, fantastic state and federal solar incentives and tax breaks, and several local electrical company rebates all make the decision to switch to solar easy.
Colorado Solar Incentives
Colorado is consistently ranked high across the country for its great solar incentives, tax credits, and rebate programs. Two tax breaks in particular, the Sales and Use Tax Exemption for Renewable Energy Equipment plan and the Property Tax Exemption for Residential Renewable Energy Equipment program, mean that you won’t pay sales tax for installing your solar system or any additional taxes on your home’s increased value. On top of that, most power companies in the Denver area offer a variety of rebate programs for homeowners with solar systems.
Going Off The Grid with Solar Panels
Besides the substantial energy savings you get when you make the switch to solar, another perk that’s not talked about quite as often is your ability to “get off the grid.” In the event of a power outage or when power lines are damaged from a major storm, you’ll have electrical independence.
Getting Started With Solar Panel Installation in Denver
Whether you’re interested in just a few solar shingles or having your entire roof covered in panels, PRQ Exteriors can provide a solar solution for you.
PRQ Exteriors is known across the Denver area for our high-quality, reliable installation services and professional technicians. We now offer a variety of solar services, from installation to repair. A professional warranty backs our work, and we provide complimentary consultations so that you can see just how much you can save by making the switch to solar.
Schedule a Solar Consultation Today for Your Home
Making the switch to solar energy can seem like a daunting challenge, but the professional roofing contractors at PRQ Exteriors are here to help. Give us a call or send us a message to schedule a free consultation today. We are excited to offer the countless benefits of a solar energy system built just for your home.
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