Find major rebates on solar panels in Colorado
Residents of Colorado have some of the best home solar incentives in the country.
If you live in Colorado, you’re lucky to have access to some of the best local solar incentives in the country. While there is no state tax credit, there are many utility companies and organizations that offer cash rebates to homeowners who install solar panels.
There are many municipal utilities, electric cooperatives, and non-governmental organizations that offer these rebates, and keeping track of them is a little tricky. To help you make sense of them, this guide summarizes all the Colorado solar rebates available in 2019.
Summary of solar rebates available to Colorado residents:
|Federal tax credit||30% off system price through 2019|
|Roaring Fork Valley and Crystal River Valley||up to $2,250|
|Eagle Valley||up to $500|
|Summit Valley||up to $400|
|City of Aspen||up to $4,500|
|Glenwood Springs||up to $3,750|
|Holy Cross Energy||up to $10,100|
|San Miguel Power Association||up to $750|
Finding solar rebates in Colorado community
The rebates listed in this article all apply to a specific geographic area or utility company in Colorado. Before getting into that list, let’s start by letting you know that the two investor-owned utility companies, Black Hills Energy and Xcel Energy, do not offer solar rebates to its customers.
Well, that’s not quite true: Xcel has a program called Solar*Rewards (with the asterisk) that pays $0.005 per kilowatt hour of solar electricity that you generate.
To put that into perspective, the average home in Colorado uses 678 kWh per month. If you have a solar panel system that generates 100% of that, this program will earn you $3.39 per month, or $40.68 per year. That’s not nothing, but it’s small enough that it won’t make an impact on the buying decision of most people.
In addition, there’s a yearly program cap, so there’s no guarantee that you’ll even qualify for the incentive.
Because of that, we can basically say that Xcel Energy and Black Hills Energy do not offer solar incentives.
Now that’s out of the way: let’s dive into the list of Colorado solar rebates.
Energy Smart Colorado partner rebates
Energy Smart Colorado is a non-profit organization that works to make energy efficiency more accessible to Colorado residents. It has a number of partner organizations that manage energy efficiency and renewable energy rebates in their service areas. For all rebates, the application form is available on energysmartcolorado.com. Additional details and requirements for each rebate is listed below.
Roaring Fork Valley and Crystal River Valley solar rebates
The Community Office for Resource Efficiency (CORE) is a non-profit organization that was started in 1994 by the City of Aspen and Pitkin County to promote energy efficiency and renewable energy. They are funded by numerous local and national governments, organizations and individual donors.
If you live in Roaring Fork Valley or Crystal River Valley, CORE offers multiple rebates for solar energy and battery storage. This includes Aspen through Glenwood Springs (serving all Glenwood Springs electric customers) and Carbondale through Marble. The CORE rebate programs include:
- Solar thermal: 25% off the project costs, up to a maximum $2,500 rebate. Requires a prior home energy analysis.
- Solar photovoltaic: rebate of $0.75 per watt up to 3 kw (or $2,250) for purchased systems, or $0.50 per watt up to 1.5 kw (or $750) for leased/PPA systems. System must be grid-tied, include a web-connected inverter, and be installed by a NABCEP certified company. Requires a prior home energy analysis.
- Solar thermal or PV system tuneups: 25% off the project costs, up to a maximum $500 rebate. For maintenance related to solar hot water or PV systems, such as an inverter repair or replacement, hot water tank flush, inspection of pump motor, controller, thermostat, pipe insulation, etc.
- Energy storage (battery) system: 25% off the project costs, up to a maximum $2,250 rebate. Must be a grid-tied system.
To qualify for the solar thermal or PV rebates, you must first have a Home Energy Assessment performed. At the moment, CORE is offering this assessment for free, so there’s no reason to not do it, even if you aren’t thinking of going solar. The Solar Nerd also recommends that you take care of easy energy efficiency improvements before you install solar.
Note: the CORE rebates, when combined with other rebates, may not cause your total rebates to exceed half of the gross project costs. Read more details and other conditions.
A great thing about this rebate is that it can be combined with utility rebates, saving you even more money. See the section below for your utility.
Eagle Valley solar rebates
The Walking Mountains Science Center (WMSC) is not just a really cool visitor destination, but it also operates the Walking Mountains Sustainability programs, which helps local Coloradans reduce their environmental footprint through energy efficiency and recycling.
One of the programs from WMSC is a 50% rebate on solar thermal or solar photovoltaic installations, up to a maximum rebate of $500. The rebate is available to residents of Eagle Valley.
A requirement of the rebate is that homeowners must have a Home Energy Assessment performed first. It’s always a good idea to perform low-cost energy savings measures before tackling more expensive projects like solar PV.
If you get the WMSC rebate, you can also qualify for a second solar rebate from your electric utility, saving you even more money. See the section below for more info.
High Country Conservation Center (HCCC) is non-profit organization in Frisco that works on waste reduction and energy efficiency in Summit County. HCCC offers a 50% rebate up to a maximum of $400 on a wide range of energy efficiency or renewable energy projects, including solar.
To apply for the rebate, visit the Energy Smart Colorado website.
Like other rebates from Energy Smart Colorado partners, the HCCC rebate can be combined with the utility rebates for even more savings.
Solar rebates from electric utilities
Many local utilities in Colorado provide rebates on solar thermal and solar photovoltaic panels. To qualify for any of the rebates below, you must first have documentation that you’ve had a Home Energy Assessment performed. You can then apply for your rebate on the Energy Smart Colorado website.
City of Aspen Electric
If the City of Aspen is your electric utility, you can get a rebate of $0.75 per watt on a solar photovoltaic system, up to a maximum of 3 kilowatts. That doesn’t mean that the maximum system size you can install is 3 kW, but that the rebate is limited to the first 3 kw, or $2,250 in total.
This is a big rebate, because you can also qualify for the $0.75 per watt rebate from CORE (see above). This means potentially getting a $4,500 rebate in addition to the federal tax credit of 30%. That’s huge.
In addition to the required energy assessment, the City of Aspen requires the work to be permitted, an initial rough-in inspection performed before the solar panels are installed, and a final inspection to be done after the work is complete.
Finally, any contractor you hire must be an electrical contractor licensed by the State of Colorado, be NABCEP-certified, and also be certified by the Colorado Solar & Storage Association (COSSA).
That’s a lot of requirements, so if you want to be sure that you’re working with a qualified contractor, you can use our form to request quotes from up to three solar installers.
City of Glenwood Springs Electric
The municipal utility of Glenwood Springs offers a rebate on solar panels of $0.50 per watt up to a maximum of 3 kilowatts. That doesn’t mean that the maximum system size you can install is 3 kW, but that the rebate is limited to the first 3 kw, or $1,500 in total.
This rebate can be combined with the CORE rebate listed above, which means that Glenwood Electric customers can save $3,750 on a solar PV system, in addition to the federal tax credit of 30%. That’s huge!
Holy Cross Energy (HCE)
Holy Cross Energy gives significant rebates on solar energy systems. The rebate is tiered as follows:
|Tier||Rebate per kW|
Your rebate is calculated on the system size according to these tiers.
For example, let’s say to get the maximum system size of 25 kW (which would be huge for a residential system, by the way). Your rebate would be calculated as follows:
- $4,500 for the first 6 kilowatts
- $3,000 for the next 6 kilowatts
- $2,600 for the next 13 kilowatts
Your total rebate for this 25 kW system would be $10,100. But most people have much smaller systems than that. If you have a 6 kilowatt system (which is more in the typical range), your rebate would be $4,500.
An important requirement is that the system must either be installed or inspected by a NABCEP-accredited contractor. To find qualified contractors, you can use The Solar Nerd to get up to three quotes from pre-screened companies in your area.
You can refer to the HCE website to read more about the program requirements.
San Miguel Power Association
If SMPA is your electric utility, you can get a rebate on solar panels of $0.25 per watt up to a maximum of 3 kilowatts. That doesn’t mean that the maximum system size you can install is 3 kW, but that the rebate is limited to the first 3 kw, or $750 in total.
The maximum system size allowed is 10 kilowatts or 100% of your average annual usage, whichever is less. Also, the system must be installed by a master electrician or a contractor with a NABCEP PV Installer certification. (To find qualified contractors, use The Solar Nerd to get your quotes.)