ColoradoSolar energy is all the rage, and with good reason, it can save greatly on electricity bills. However, before you plan out your solar power for your home in Colorado, you’re going to want to check and find out what the local solar panel laws are for the city in Colorado that you’re installing the solar panels.

If you have a better understanding of the laws for your local area, you’re going to be able to make wise decisions on your specific solar panel setup and plan the best way to set everything up.

Solar Panel Installation

According to Colorado solar panel laws, solar panels can be installed in your backyard, on the roof of your home, or in a field nearby your home. It’s important to understand that the solar panels can only be installed on property that the homeowner owns unless it’s installed in a neighborhood with a Homeowners Association (HOA). Specific parameters must be adhered to for the sake of the Homeowners Association.

Anyone can install solar panels in Colorado. However, it’s strongly recommended that a professional handle all electrical hookups to ensure that they are correctly installed and functional. Each specific city will have its particular ordinances, so it’s essential to make sure that all of the legal requirements for each location are met.

Homeowners Association or HOA

Homeowners Associations may have specific restrictions for aesthetic purposes. Suppose the home is located within an area that requires a Homeowners Association. In that case, it’s vital to follow the rules and regulations to ensure that the proper aesthetics are being met with solar panels.

The homeowners association may require that the solar panels only be installed within specific parameters or radius of the home or business.

They may only allow solar panels on the roof but not out in the yard or a nearby field. Additionally, they may also regulate the number of solar panels that any one home or business may install again for aesthetic purposes.

Financial Incentives to Solar Panels

Solar EnergyThere are many financial incentives to having solar panels installed for powering a home or other facility. The state of Colorado is well-known to have “300 sunny days per year”. That being said, it only makes sense to take full advantage of the opportunity that solar power offers.

Solar panels will not net the user a state tax credit. However, federal tax credits can net up to 30% of the investment tax credit for solar power.

Depending upon where the house or business is located in the state of Colorado, there may be some local utility and municipality tax rebates and credit incentives that may be applied. There are also some grants depending upon the home or business location that may cover up to 50% of the cost of installation.

Net Metering and Power Purchase Agreements or PPA

Net Metering is another incentive for many. Net Metering is used when the home or business generates more power than it requires, and the excess power is “sold back” to the power company.

With the right power installation, it’s conceivable that a home or business could generate more than its requirements and become an energy producer for other homes or businesses in the area. This will not only save the homeowner or businessman money, but it can also generate a small income for them.

Another similar option is a power purchase agreement. In this case, the homeowner or businessman enters into a power purchase agreement with the local utility district.

The most significant advantage of this incentive is that a third party will be the owner of the power panels, inverter, and installation cost. In short, the homeowner or the businessman isn’t the actual owner of the solar panels and other required equipment to generate the power. However, by agreeing to allow them to be installed on their property, they greatly benefit from the agreement.

An added benefit to this setup is that the homeowner or businessman isn’t responsible for the upkeep and maintenance of any equipment. If something goes wrong, the company will take care of repairs or replacement of the equipment.

Will Solar Panels Increase the Value of a Home or Business?

Solar power can add value to a home or business. Depending on the solar panels and inverter size, you can anticipate an added value of at least $17,000 and upwards of $35,000 or more.

A small home or business may be able to use as few as 14 solar panels, while a larger home or business may require as many as 40 or more solar panels. This can be a great incentive if someone is planning to sell in the near future.

Will Solar Panels Pay for Themselves?

Solar panels can pay for themselves anywhere from 7 to 20 years from the date installed, depending on the number of solar panels and the amount of energy generated. This could net users as much as a $20,000 savings.

When considering the cost of installation and the amount of savings, the answer is a resounding “Yes”. Solar panels will save homeowners and business owners a lot of money and pay for themselves, especially if the homeowner or business owner takes advantage of Net Metering or a Power purchase agreement.

Map image by Wikimedia Commons User: TUBS / CC-BY-SA-3.0