Save on Solar

Woman sitting on house with solar panels

Getting Started

In sunny Colorado, solar is a nearly endless source of for us to use. We want to help you get it. No matter what building you want to go solar - your house, your townhome, your rental, or your commercial building - there are options for you. Denver has a variety of resources to make going solar more affordable.

I own a home, small business, or townhouse and I want to explore rooftop solar.

Check out Solar Switch Denver! When you sign up for Solar Switch, you will get access to advisors from Solar United Neighbors, a Colorado-based non-profit. You also enjoy the power of group purchasing to get a better price on your solar system.

You can also check out EnergySage, which helps home and business owners compare solar options. This free portal provides an easy way to:

  • Assess a property’s solar capacity
  • Get an instant estimate on solar-related energy savings
  • Get quotes from local, vetted installers.

City and County of Denver has partnerships with both of these organizations to help you find the best deals for rooftop solar. 

I am in a situation where rooftop solar won't work for me, but I still want the benefits of solar.

A subscription to a community solar project might be the right option for you. Community solar allows you to buy solar energy from a solar installation near your home, rather than on your rooftop. You can explore community solar projects through Xcel Energy or with the help of Solar United Neighbors or EnergySage

Community solar is a good option for renters and home or business owners whose homes or buildings are unsuitable for rooftop solar. 

I work for a non-profit and want to explore solar for our building.

Our Renewables and Resilience Incentive Program can help your non-profit install:

  • Solar panels
  • Battery storage
  • EV charging stations

If you qualify for the program, Denver Climate Action could cover the full cost of upgrading your building.

Solar Switch Denver

We launched Solar Switch Denver to help you understand your solar options and save money. The Solar Switch Denver spring program is now open for registration. Join our newsletter to hear about the next Solar Switch signup window.

We are excited to support this program. Our goal is to help homeowners and small businesses get access to solar. Solar Switch can help you secure a quality rooftop solar installation.

Solar Switch uses group buying and expertise from Solar United Neighbors. This way, they ensure that you get a great deal on solar and battery storage. Their help makes it possible for you to make an informed decision on what solar options are right for you.

How does it work?

Solar Switch organizes cohorts of homeowners to buy solar together. By organizing a group purchase for solar panels, Solar Switch is able to get a better deal for everyone in the group. 

  1. Registration: Sign up online today. It comes at no cost, and there are no obligations.
  2. Auction: Pre-vetted installers participate in the auction. The best bid wins.
  3. Personal recommendation: Based on your registration details, you'll get a personal recommendation.
  4. Make Your Decision: Once you get the offer, you can decide if you want to accept and proceed with a site survey. If you choose to accept, you will have to pay a small deposit towards the full cost of your solar installation.
  5. Installation: If you accept your recommendation, Solar Switch will transfer you to the installer that won the auction. The installer will contact you for a survey and set an installation date. The survey process will verify your roof's suitability and result in a final offer. 

Learn More and Register by March 27

Rebates

If you get rooftop solar through Solar Switch Denver, you might qualify for an $8,000 rebate or support for additional home energy improvements. Check to see if your household makes less than 100% of area median income. To see the rebate program and other financing options, fill out our Denver Solar Co-Op Rebate Eligibility form. Once we verify your eligibility, we will notify you and apply your rebate to your solar proposal.

 

EnergySage

The City and County of Denver partnered with EnergySage to help you compare solar options. This free portal provides an easy way to:

  • Assess a property’s solar capacity
  • Get an instant estimate on solar-related energy savings
  • Get quotes from local, vetted installers

You can also get information about community solar opportunities in your area. EnergySage is a wealth of information about all facets of the solar industry and process. Their advisors are available via phone, email or chat to help you look at quotes and answer questions. Confirm that your installer is licensed with the City and County of Denver by checking their electrical license.

Disclaimer: The City and County of Denver does not endorse one solar company over another.

How Does it Work?

  1. Fill out the Survey: This survey will ask your address, preferences, and whether you rent or own your home or business. EnergySage will send your information to qualified installers in your area. Those installers can then send you an estimate for solar work on your rooftop.
  2. Review your Quotes: Installers in your area will build out customized pricing options for you. All of the quotes will show up on your EnergySage dashboard, where you can compare them side-by-side. If you have questions, you can talk to an EnergySage advisor.
  3. Choose your Installer: If you find a quote that you want to proceed with, you can choose that installer and move forward with them. EnergySage advisors are available to answer any questions you have along the way.

 

Working with a Solar Installer

Solar is a big investment. Make sure to ask the right questions if you decide to proceed with rooftop solar on your home or building. 

Questions about cost

  • What is your cost per watt?
  • What incentives can you take advantage of?
  • How do your payment options compare?
    • Generally, you can save more by paying cash, but can avoid up-front costs with a loan.
  • How much will you save on your electricity bills?
    • You may need to share a few of your past bills to get an accurate estimate.

 

Questions about system attributes

  • Is your roof right for solar?
    • Your roof needs to be sturdy enough to hold your new asset! Consider community solar if your roof is highly shaded or in need of repairs.
  • What is your estimated annual production, measured in kWh?
  • What percentage of your annual electricity consumption will be offset by solar?
  • How will your panels be positioned (referred to as azimuth and tilt)?
    • Solar panels are most productive when pointing south. Do not accept a proposal that orients panels to the north or east. 

 

Community Solar

Have you ever seen a big field of solar panels that didn't appear connected to a building? Often, these are community solar projects. They are also sometimes called solar farms, shared solar, solar gardens, or roofless solar. These solar farms generate electricity for several buildings. You can to subscribe to a community solar project and start getting a portion of the electricity it produces.

How does it work?

 

  1. Research Community Solar Projects. You can find community solar projects in your area through EnergySage, Solar United Neighbors, or Xcel Energy. Many community solar projects have waitlists. Make sure to check back often and be ready to sign up when new subscriptions open.
  2. Subscribe to a Community Solar Project: Once you find a community solar project that works for you, the next step is to subscribe. You will be assigned a share of the community solar project's electricity generation. It is like a part of the solar project being "yours." 
  3. Pay your Share and Get Credits: You pay your community solar provider your subscription fee. The fee is based on how large your share of the project is. In return, you get credits that you put toward your electric bill. The credits cover the part of your electric bill that your solar share generated. Most of the time, the credits you buy from your community solar provider are cheaper than the electricity you purchase from your utility.
  4. Use your Credits and Save: Apply your solar credits to your electricity bill. You'll immediate start to see the savings on your electrical bills. 

According to our friends at EnergySage, "One of the most important things to understand about community solar is that you don't receive electricity directly from the farm. Your current utility company will still deliver your electricity. You will most likely still receive a monthly electric bill. You will pay both your community solar provider for credits and your regular utility bill. But the total amount between the two will almost always be lower than what you'd pay without subscribing to community solar."

Find a Community Solar Project

Solar for Non-Profits

Human Service Providers can request funding to install:

  • Solar panels
  • Battery storage
  • Vehicle-to-building electric vehicle charging  

Denver’s Renewables and Resilience Program can fund up to 100% of the costs associated with installing this technology. This program supports Denver’s goal of a 100% carbon-free electric grid by 2030.

Human Service Providers can:  

  1. Reduce utility costs: Lower operating costs allow more funding for critical support services.
  2. Reduce fossil fuel consumption: Getting your electricity from solar means it isn't coming from coal or natural gas.
  3. Protect public health: Burning less fossil fuel improves both indoor and outdoor air quality
  4. Increase resiliency: Solar can provide backup power to buildings during power outages. 

Learn more and apply

Solar for Commercial Buildings

We recently hosted US Solar and EnergySage for a question and answer session on getting solar for commercial buildings. Our speakers broke down the differences between rooftop solar and community solar, and how you can approach getting either. Sit back and check it out:

 

Federal Solar Tax Credits for Businesses

There are two tax credits available for businesses and other entities like nonprofits and local and tribal governments that purchase solar energy systems:

  • The investment tax credit (ITC): This tax credit that reduces your federal income tax liability for a percentage of the cost of your solar system.
  • The production tax credit (PTC): This tax credit reduces your income tax liability based on how much electricity your solar system generated.

Generally, project owners cannot claim both the ITC and the PTC for the same property. However, they could claim different credits for co-located systems, like solar and storage, depending on what further guidance is issued by the IRS. Other types of renewable energy and storage technologies are also eligible for the ITC.

Solar systems that are placed in service in 2022 or later and begin construction before 2033 are eligible for a 30% ITC or a 2.75 ¢/kWh PTC.

Learn More from the Department of Energy