The Mile High City’s mythical 300 annual days of sunshine translates beautifully to the solar power industry. Solar energy reduces your carbon footprint, energy bills and sets your home apart in the emerging green-design architecture scene. We soaked up the abundant rays of solar energy research and converted them into ready-to-use tips for your home energy upgrade.
Freshome’s Top Solar Panel Installers in Denver
Getting a solar energy system isn’t just about throwing shiny new cells on your roof — a new solar setup means additional wiring and strategic panel placement.
The growing market of solar energy companies means that you have plenty of options to choose from — and plenty of details that threaten to overwhelm you in the process. That’s where we come in. With top-notch research on the right companies and the right solar brands, we’ve created your all-in-one resource for the solar lowdown.
A fast-growing supplier, designer and installer of solar panels since their inception in 2005, Namasté Solar is the largest local solar company in Colorado and has an extensive track record of implementing solar, touting the installation of over 3,000 solar PV systems in the state. They use SunPower panels – a high-quality brand with the gold standard in warranties: 25 years.
“Prioritize ‘doing the right thing’ above all else. Contribute to social justice and positive social change. Contribute to a healthier natural environment.” — Namasté Solar
Adobe Solar LLC
Adobe Solar offers design, installation and 25-year warranties on their solar PV systems. While the layout of their site was not the most intuitive that we found, they did provide a wide array of resources and research on solar as a whole. They did a very clear job of detailing exactly what products they offer and how these products contribute to the best solar PV systems for your residence. Most impressive was the FAQ section, covering every base of solar energy systems (adding a level of detail to their site that few companies we came across did). Brands offered include SunTech, SolarWorld (a Freshome recommendation), Sharp and Sanyo — a wider array than many of their competitors.
EcoMark Solar LLC
EcoMark is confident in assuring the customer that they take care of every step of the solar PV system process from design to installation. The website and overall branding was slightly awkward, with no clear delineation of brands offered, system packages or warranties specified. They do, however, provide extensive resources to pore through via blog and PDF files and are a clear authority on the wide expanse of solar options in the area. They top it off with an A+ accreditation from the Better Business Bureau.
Finding the best solar panels in Denver
Shopping for solar panels and a total system that will work for your home shouldn’t be a spur-of-the-moment decision. You want to choose quality panels with a dependable warranty. Go with the cheap kind, and they could very well break. Add a short warranty to that equation and you’re back at square one. Neither option sounds ideal, right? The best bet for maximizing power and panel longevity is to invest in a panel that lives up to the following standards:
Ask your installer about the panels that you’re purchasing, and whether they’re up these essential standards. While the numbers can seem daunting, it’s completely worth it to talk to each company and learn the implications of each system they offer. Here are Freshome’s top recommending brands — you should ask your installer about whether they offer panels from these companies as well.
Solar Power in Denver
Denver’s Solar Policies and Incentives
The state’s first Renewable Energy Portfolio Standard (RPS) was enacted in 2004, setting a goal for 30 percent of electric generation from the state’s biggest utilities coming from renewable sources by 2020. In 2015 there was a constitutional challenge of that same mandate — and both Colorado and Federal courts rejected it. Now there’s a state that genuinely values renewable energy!
While there are no solar tax credits from the state, solar residents can still redeem the 30 percent federal tax credit, known as the solar Investment Tax Credit (ITC). The ITC implemented in 2006 to spur the development of solar energy in the United States, and research shows that this credit has contributed to a compound annual growth rate of 76 percent.
What to Expect
Denver receives 6854 harvestable kWh per year, and the average residential price per kW is around 11 cents. That said, here’s an idea of how much money you could save with as little as 5 solar panels on your roof.
How do solar panels work?
It all starts with photovoltaic cells: The cells on solar panels that turn rays into electric energy Often referred to as PV systems in the industry, what sounds like complicated tech-speak can actually be an incredibly simple boon to your energy savings.
So what happens once the sunlight hits? Called “direct current” or DC electricity, it flows to a power inverter, where it’s converted to “alternate current,” or AC electricity. The AC then moves to the breaker box, subsequently powering your lights and home appliances. Whatever leftover energy there is (if any) is either stored by a battery system (if you have one in place) or connected to your city’s utility grid, allowing you to both give and receive energy.
So while it’s a relatively simple concept, with professionals in the area to take the reins for you vis a vis system design and installation, it’s also an incredible source of clean energy that can power your home the way you’re used to, with far less cost and carbon footprint.
On the grid or off the grid? (net metering vs. batteries)
Net metering and battery storage are both ways to divert unused solar energy. Net metering takes the energy you don’t use and puts it back on a shared grid (giving you credit towards your overall energy bill), while battery systems store it. In plain terms, the argument for net metering rests on the fact that you, as a homeowner, don’t have to deal with the storage costs of a battery. The regulations associated with net metering and pushback from utility companies, who perceive net metering as a source of revenue loss, make it a slightly more complicated option than battery storage.
Battery storage has indeed improved over the years — in the past, arguments were made that batteries are too costly, are not reliable, and add complications. Technology gains have added myriad options for designing a system with battery storage. You can enable your battery bank on the web to notify you when the battery is full or when they need to be switched out. Some also find the concept of a local storage system to be more reliable than using a shared grid.
Colorado has some of the most impressive net metering policies in the country. Utility companies are required to meet the state’s RPS policy (unlike other states, many of which don’t even have an RPS).
How long does the install take?
The actual installation process takes a few days, depending on the company. Contact one of the companies we’ve listed to get a better idea.
Does color matter?
Most companies offer panels in a range of options off the black to light-gray scale. The darker panels, as may seem self-explanatory, do the best job of absorbing maximum sunlight. Shinier colors can, in a counter-intuitive move, reflect away the sunlight that you need to power your home.
What size does my roof need to be?
Typical solar PV systems take 100 square feet to produce 1 kW of sun-generated power.
So, the minimum roof space needed to accommodate efficient panels is about 150 square feet, figuring that the average home uses approximately 900 kWh per month and solar installation therefore needs to produce 1.5 kW.
How many panels are right for me?
That will entirely depend on the size of your roof and how much sunlight it gets. Your installer will be able to suss out the exact design of your system when you schedule a consultation.
How do shorter days affect my solar energy production?
This will depend on where you live, but the loss is not as high as you would imagine. The number is purported to be around 2-15 percent — again, something that your solar installer can confirm upon designing the system for your home.
By now you’re fully immersed in some serious solar energy research. So is it right for your home and location? Give our top-rated companies a call and get a quote. They’re ready to built out a price and system that reflects your energy goals.
Local Installers: Namasté Solar, Adobe Solar LLC, EcoMark Solar LLC