Find Your Colorado Solar Incentives & Rebates

Find Your Colorado Solar Incentives & Rebates


Colorado homeowners are in luck when they go solar because there are many solar incentives and rebates available, making solar panel systems an even better deal. Colorado consistently ranks in the top 10 for the most solar installed per capita, and the state has one of the nation’s strongest Renewable Energy Standards (RESs). By 2020, electricity providers must generate 30% of their electricity from renewable energy sources. This is why there are so many Colorado solar incentives and rebates for residential and commercial solar. Plus, the federal solar tax credit is still in place (for a limited time) to give you 30% off the price of your system!

We’ve gathered information on the solar incentive programs available in Colorado to help you navigate these opportunities and to help you get the best deal on your home solar panel system. Which Colorado solar incentive program are you eligible for?

Fort Collins Utilities Solar Rebates

Customers of City of Fort Collins Utilities can receive up to $1,500 for a residential solar system installation or $100,000 for a commercial solar system installation. The rebate amount is calculated based on the amount of electricity the new system generates ($0.50 per watt). Homeowners who go solar in Fort Collins can also receive credit for the extra electricity generated through net metering and Fort Collins Utilities’ new Time of Use rate.

Colorado Springs Utilities Renewable Energy Rebates

Customers of Colorado Springs Utilities can receive a rebate of $0.25 per AC watt that their new solar system generates. A system that generates 5,000 watts (an average size for residential solar), for example, would qualify for a $1,250 rebate (5,000 AC watts x $0.25 per watt = $1,250). This rebate applies to both residential and commercial-scale systems. Depending on the installation, up to 40 percent of the total system cost would be covered by rebates and tax credits. Colorado Springs solar customers can also receive credit for the excess energy their systems produce through net metering.

City of Boulder Solar Grant Programs

The City of Boulder offers solar incentives for both homeowners and businesses. Those who install solar energy systems may be eligible for solar rebates on city taxes. The city also offers solar grants to residents based on income and to nonprofit organizations who install new solar systems. Grant applications are accepted every fall and spring.

Xcel Energy Solar*Rewards® Program

Xcel Energy customers may be eligible to receive payments in exchange for Renewable Energy Credits (RECs), paid in cents per kilowatt hour (¢ per kWh). Note that not many of our customers enroll in this program, but our home solar advisors can help you determine if this solar incentive program is a good option for you.

Energy Smart Solar Rebates

You can apply for a cash rebate up to $3,000 for your home solar installation if you are a resident in Eagle Valley, Gunnison County, Lake County, Roaring Fork Valley, Summit County, Routt County, or Moffat County.

Holy Cross Energy Renewable Energy Rebates

Residents who install renewable energy systems, including solar, are eligible for a rebate from Holy Cross Energy. They offer an incentive up to $8,100 for private solar systems and 40% of the installed cost (up to $1,500 per kW for the first 25 kW installed) for non-taxable entities that install solar.

And the BIG one: The Federal Solar Tax Credit

In addition to the local Colorado solar incentives, all homeowners can also take advantage of the 30% federal tax credit for solar. This applies to all new solar installations and is available for a limited time. If you are thinking of going solar, don’t miss out! The credit is currently set to decrease at the end of 2019 and fully expire in 2022.

Have Questions about Colorado Solar Incentives?

Are you wondering how to get the best deal on your home solar panel system with Colorado solar incentives and rebates? Or perhaps you have questions about solar financing? Our non-commissioned solar advisors and utility coordinators are here to answer your questions and discuss your financing options. We take care of all the details for going solar, and our team can even help you navigate the applications for your solar incentives and rebates, so you get the best deal.


Contact us or call 303.447.0300 to get you free home solar quote! Your free quote will include: a roof assessment, a customized system design, and a calculation of your savings and return on investment.

Online Solar System Calculators: What You Should Know

Online Solar System Calculators: What You Should Know


Many home and business owners begin their solar journey by consulting an online solar system calculator to find out how much a solar system might cost and how much they could save on their utility bills by going solar. These online calculators are a great way to start the solar research process; you’ll get a quick estimate in minutes. But, for reasons we’ll explain below, if you are seriously considering solar then the best way to get an accurate calculation of your potential solar savings is to contact a local solar installer.

So when are online solar savings calculators helpful and when are they helpless?

When Online Solar System Calculators Are Helpful

Online solar system calculators help those considering investing in solar energy — especially homeowners — get a glimpse of what going solar will mean for them financially. These online calculators have grown into fairly robust tools that take into account a wide variety of factors to deliver your solar estimate. You’ll be prompted to provide your address and your average monthly electricity bill. Some calculators will also ask about your roofing material, roof pitch, and shading to attempt more accurate estimates.

With this information, the calculator will provide a rough estimate for how many solar panels you would need to offset your electricity usage. Most online calculators will also show your net solar savings over the life of your system and how long it would take for your savings to pay off the cost of the solar system. Though of course it would be impossible for an online calculator to deliver 100% accurate information, they can offer a great first glimpse at your property’s solar potential and how you can benefit from going solar.

What Online Solar System Calculators Are Leaving Out

Online calculators do have their limitations, as they leave out many key factors you need to consider when going solar. Online calculators do not consider the usable square footage of your roof or roof configuration (including dormers, chimneys, etc.). These characteristics can greatly impact the design of your system and may change the number of panels and equipment recommended by a solar specialist.

Online solar system calculators generally don’t ask you about your budget or your goals for going solar, either. There are factors such as financing and solar equipment to consider. Both how you finance your solar energy system and what equipment you install have an influence on the cost of your new system and expected solar savings. You’ll miss out on these personalized details if you rely solely on online calculator tools.

Tip: Get a Free Quote for the Most Accurate Information

While an online solar system calculator can offer an initial estimate to get you started, these estimates are approximations based on averages and limited information. You’ll want to work with accurate and complete numbers, not an approximation, when you are ready to explore the true potential of solar for your home. The best way to obtain accurate information is to get a free custom quote from a local solar installer.

Along the way you’ll likely reach out to a few solar installers for competitive quotes. Read up on kilowatts and kilowatt hours so you can better understand how to compare solar proposals from different solar companies.

If you have solar questions and are looking for honest answers, please feel free to utilize Namasté Solar’s non-commissioned home solar advisors as a resource. We’re the #1 solar installer in the Denver, Boulder, and Fort Collins areas in part because we honestly assess your home’s solar potential. Our goal is to equip you with the necessary information so you can decide whether solar is right for you.


Contact us or call 303.447.0300 to get a free home solar quote! Your free quote will include: a roof assessment, a customized system design, and a calculation of your savings and return on investment.

Pros and Cons of Installing Tesla’s Solar Roof Tiles

The Tesla Solar Roof: Pros and Cons of Installing Solar Roof Tiles


Tesla’s Solar Roof tiles have been creating plenty of buzz in the world of solar power, and some people want to know more about these tiles and if Namaste Solar installs them. Namaste Solar does not currently install Solar Roof tiles, but we can help you cut through some of the media hype to decide whether solar roof tiles are a good option for you. In this post we’ll look at the pros and cons of the Tesla Solar Roof for your residential solar energy system.

Tesla Solar Roof: What You Need to Know

Tesla began Solar Roof installations for customers on their waitlist earlier this year. The Solar Roof has been installed only in California thus far, and experts are unsure as to when Tesla will begin installing their roof product on a national scale. The wait may be worth it for some who value the differentiating elements of the product. Other homeowners may want to begin getting the benefits of clean solar energy now, including solar savings.

Pros of Tesla Roof Tiles

Design: The most noticeable difference between solar panels and the Solar Roof is design. Tesla offers four different styles to choose from; textured, smooth, Tuscan, or slate styled solar roof tiles. The tiles mimic the look of a traditional roof so your neighbors won’t even know you have solar on your house (though many of our customers enjoy being solar trendsetters). If you want to maintain the aesthetics of your rooftop, the Solar Roof tiles are a great option for adding solar energy to your home.

Warranty and durability: Tesla roof tiles are made with tempered glass that is more durable than standard roofing tiles. Tesla stands behind the durability of their product with an infinite warranty (or the lifetime of your house). We don’t know the full details of their warranty, but that’s quite a bold offer.

Cons of Tesla Roof Tiles

Cost: To install Tesla’s Solar Roof, you’re required to replace your whole roof – even if you don’t need a new roof right now. That means you’re paying for the cost of both a solar energy system and a new roof. And you’re only getting the 30% Federal Tax Credit on the solar portion of the cost. According to EnergySage, on an apples-to-apples comparison: “Tesla’s solar roof will cost nearly $25,000 more than installing solar panels, and yet will only deliver 77 percent as much solar electricity (due to it being a smaller system size).”

Unknown Maintenance Costs: Since the Tesla roof tiles are a new product, the maintenance costs and processes are an unknown. If you have a roof leak, for example, how complex would it be to fix the leak? Could you call a roofer in your area or would Tesla be the only company able to perform the fix – and how much more would that cost than a regular roof repair? There is also the question of how Tesla will deliver on the infinite warranty for required maintenance. Will the company have the financial strength and longevity to deliver on that guarantee?

Unknown Return on Investment: When you crunch the numbers (like this Forbes contributor did), solar panels still offer a significantly higher return on investment. According to their head-to-head comparison of the Tesla Solar Roof vs. solar panels for the same house, the Tesla Solar Roof cost 48.9% more and yielded just 2.79% of the savings that the solar panels delivered. In other words, with the Solar Roof you pay almost 50% more and get 97% less in savings. Ouch.

Are Solar Roof Tiles for You?

The Tesla Solar Roof is a great option for homeowners who are concerned about the aesthetics of their rooftop. The tiles look like a traditional rooftop. The tiles do come with a high price tag, though, and will make a Tesla Solar Roof cost prohibitive for many homeowners. Solar panels are still a reliable, tested, and durable option for homeowners who are looking for a great return on investment.


Want to learn about your home’s solar potential? Contact us or call 303.447.0300 to get a free quote!

Hail & Solar Panels: How Much Hail Can Solar Panels Handle?

Hail & Solar Panels: How Much Hail Can Solar Panels Handle?


With hail such a frequent concern here in Colorado’s Front Range, our customers often ask us how their new solar energy system will hold up to hail over its 25-plus year lifespan.

Today’s solar panels are designed to withstand even the harshest of outdoor elements. Whether you are considering a rooftop system for your home or a roof or ground-mounted solar array for your commercial property, you can rest assured that your solar PV system will continue to convert clean, renewable solar energy into electricity for decades.

Solar Panel Resilience Against Extreme Weather Conditions

The solar industry’s top solar panel manufacturers have long understood the need for solar panels that can withstand extreme weather conditions like high winds and hail. In fact, most manufacturers test and certify their solar panels to withstand hail up to one inch in diameter falling at 50 miles per hour.

Today’s solar panels are also extremely resilient against high winds and heavy rain. Most solar panels are certified to withstand hurricane force winds. In addition, the aluminum and glass casings that hold a solar panel’s solar cells are highly waterproof, even during extreme rain.

How 3,000 Solar Panels Measured Up Against a Massive Hail Storm

The National Renewable Energy Lab (NREL) in Golden, Colorado, can attest to the resilience of solar panels against extreme weather. The NREL is home to an enormous solar energy system consisting of 3,168 rooftop- and ground-mounted solar panels. In 2017, a severe hail storm that hit the greater Denver area had some people worried about all of those solar panels on the NREL campus.

Despite hailstones up to 2.75 inches in diameter being reported in the area — and the countless cars and windows that were damaged — only one of the facility’s 3,168 solar panels sustained damage. That’s a major testament to the resilience of renewable solar energy systems.

Ensure a Long Life for Your System with Expert Installation

Though today’s solar products are built to withstand the extreme weather conditions that can affect the Denver and Boulder areas, you need expert system installation from an experienced contractor if you want to ensure a long life for your solar energy system.

Having installed over 5,000 solar energy systems here in Colorado, Namasté Solar can help you achieve years of solar benefits like lower energy bills and a reduced carbon footprint. Because of our superior workmanship and high quality of materials used, you can expect decades of free electricity from your solar PV system.


Considering making the switch to solar here in Colorado? Contact us or call 303.447.0300 to get a free quote!

Are Solar Panels a Good Investment?

Are Solar Panels a Good Investment?


When considering solar energy for a home, many people begin by asking “how much does it cost to go solar?”. This makes sense – after all, it’s important to find out what kind of financial resources are required and whether going solar is a possibility given your financial situation. Fortunately, there are very attractive financing choices, including no upfront cost options, that make solar affordable and accessible to many more people.

In addition to looking at solar as a purchase that has a cost, solar panels can also be looked at as an investment. This is because switching to clean solar energy can generate attractive financial benefits that rival the returns of other places you can put your money – like savings accounts, money market or bond funds.*

So, let’s look at how you can go about evaluating residential solar energy as an investment.

Calculating and Comparing Solar ROI

The return on investment (“ROI”) for solar panels can be looked at in several ways. No approach is perfect, so people tend to look at a few different ROI calculations. A simpler method is payback period, which we’ll discuss in the next section. One of the more complex approaches is a calculation called internal rate of return, or IRR, which calculates the discount rate (or rate of return) that makes net present value of all the cash flows (including annual electric savings, in this case) equal to zero. If that last sentence makes your eyes glaze over, read on.

Payback Period

A simpler way to look at the return on investment of solar panels is to ask “How many years will it take for my solar panels to pay me back for the cost I paid?” This is often referred to the “payback period”. To calculate your payback period, you simply divide your net cost of your solar electric system by the annual savings on your electricity bill.

For example, if you purchase a $21,000 solar electric system for your house, 30% of that will be offset by a Federal tax credit, leaving you with the net cost of $14,700. If your resulting annual electric bill savings is $1,200 ($100/month), then $14,700/$1,200 gives you a preliminary payback period of 12.25 years. Why “preliminary”? Because we haven’t factored in a few other sources of solar ROI yet.

Utility Cost Increases

The next step in calculating your payback period is factoring in the additional savings from future higher electric rates. How much have electric utility rates risen historically? It can be confusing to calculate the historical rate increases because the utility companies can charge more in a number of different ways including tariff rates, transportation costs, and commodity costs. One thing we can all agree on is that electricity costs do go up over time.

However, if you switch to 100% clean solar power, you won’t be subject to increasing electric usage rates, further enhancing the potential of your solar panel investment. And remember, the more utility electric rates increase over time, the more value you’re getting from your rooftop solar system – meaning your payback period decreases while ROI increases each year.

In this example, if we assume rates rise annually at an average of 4.8%, then by year 10 the annual savings will grow from $1,200 to $1,918. Summing up the annual savings starting in year one, including the yearly increase in utility rates, drops the payback period in this example to just under 10 years (we’ll round up to 10 for simplicity).

Converting Payback to a Simple ROI

There’s one issue with looking at payback period: how do you put a 10-year payback period into context? Is 10 good or not? One way to answer that question is to translate payback period into a simple ROI calculation of cash savings per invested cash. This will allow you to more easily compare it to other investment options. In this example, if it takes 10 years to pay something back, that means that you’re getting 1/10th of your investment back each year, or a 10% annual return.

Comparing Alternatives

Now we can look at a 10% solar return on investment in comparison to other possible ways to invest your money. One common option is bonds, or more practically, a bond fund. Bonds seem to be an appropriate comparison in this case because they offer lower risk that’s more similar to solar panels compared to, say, stock funds.

Looking at the Vanguard Intermediate Term Bond Index fund, we see that as of December 31, 2017 the 5-year average annual return is 2.15%. Therefore, at a 10% return, solar panels are the clear winner here. This is especially likely when you consider that interest rates are currently near all-time lows, and if they do increase then the value of the bond fund will fall, decreasing the total bond fund ROI.

Adjusting ROI for Income Taxes

When you also consider income taxes, your solar panel invesment takes another step ahead. This is because when you invest in a bond fund like the one above, the dividends you receive are taxed (we’re assuming this fund is not in a retirement account), so you don’t get to put them all in your pocket.

In contrast, the “dividends” you receive from solar panels come in the form of cost savings, and those savings are not taxed, which means you get to immediately pocket 100% of them.

Therefore, to compare solar return on investment and bond fund return on investment on an apples-to-apples, pre-tax basis, you need to adjust your solar savings to pre-tax dollars. In this example if your marginal income tax rate (federal plus state) is 30%, then your solar ROI goes from 10% to 14.28% on a pre-tax basis. To check this math, take $14.28 and charge a 30% tax rate, you’ll get $10 left over after taxes.

This means that in the example illustrated here, the ROI on solar – on an apples to apples pretax basis – is more than 6x the historical ROI of an intermediate term bond fund. It’s worth noting that this example assumes no reinvestment of the solar savings. If you invest your pocketed savings, you’d boost your solar returns even more while also speeding up your payback period quite a bit.

Non-Financial ROI

Last, but certainly not least, when thinking about solar energy as an investment, it’s important to consider the environmental benefits of powering your house with a clean, renewable source of energy. Electricity production by traditional means (like coal and natural gas) emits large amounts of carbon dioxide that contribute to global warming. These dirty energy sources pollute our air and water supplies, linking them with a number of health problems. By going solar, you’re benefiting your whole community and the future generations who are counting on us to leave our planet clean and safe.

A Win-Win

Clean solar energy is a stable investment that can provide an attractive financial return. Plus, solar energy offers the added benefits of protection from increased utility charges, favorable tax treatment, and very important environmental benefits. That’s why many people say that solar is a win-win: it’s good for your family’s finances and good for our planet. All together it’s easy to see why thousands of Colorado homeowners are going solar every year: because investing in solar panels for your home is often a very smart choice.

Are Solar Panels a Good Investment Opportunity for You?

As we’ve illustrated above, solar ROI is based on a variety of variables and therefore will be unique to each home and energy usage profile. If you’d like to know what your solar ROI would be, simply gather your most recent 12 months of electricity usage and give us a call (or complete the free quote form). One of our non-commissioned home solar consultants would be happy to create a customized solar savings ROI analysis for you. Or learn more about solar energy costs and financing options that make solar energy affordable for a variety of households.


*Please note that we are solar experts, not tax or investment advisors, and this is not intended to provide any investment advice whatsoever, so please consult your tax and investment advisor for guidance on all things tax and investment-related!


Want to learn about your home’s solar potential? Contact us or call 303.447.0300 to get a free quote!

Questions About Fort Collins Utilities’ New Time of Use Rate Structure?

Questions About Fort Collins Utilities’ New Time of Use Rate Structure?


Starting October 1st, 2018, Fort Collins Utilities will transition to a different rate structure than what they currently offer. Instead of paying the same amount of money for all of the energy that you use, you will now pay different rates of energy depending on what time of day you use that energy. This rate will be called the Time of Use rate. The amount you pay for your energy will change depending on the time of day, the day of the week and the season. Fort Collins Utilities is transitioning to this rate in order to charge customers what Fort Collins Utilities believes is the correct price of energy, as the cost to provide energy at different times of the day varies.

You can save money by moving your energy usage away from the hours of 2-7pm during weekdays, also known as the “peak” times. These rates change based on the seasons. Weekends and holidays have a lower rate of energy. Although we do not have enough data to say for sure, the Time of Use rate is normally a good thing for solar customers. Your solar system will be producing the most energy during the peak hours, so it can offset the more expensive energy that you may use during those peak hours. For this reason, we have heard from a number of our customers that they see their utility bills decrease on a Time of Use rate.

This helpful chart shows the rates that Fort Collins Utilities will be charging at different times of day, different days of the week, and different seasons.

Fort Collins Utilities Rate Structures

The Fort Collins Utilities website helps explain the rate a bit more, and the Utilities can be reached with questions about this change at 970.221.6700.

If you have questions for Namasté Solar, please reach out to Taylor Ryan, our Utility Coordinator; she can be reached at 303.447.0300 ext. 234, or at


Contact us or call 303.447.0300 to get a free home solar quote! Your free quote will include: a roof assessment, a customized system design, and a calculation of your savings and return on investment.

The Solar Panel Tariff: Our View on the Impacts

The Solar Panel Tariff: Our View on the Impacts


On January 22nd, President Trump announced a 30% solar panel tariff on imported solar panels. See the details of the decision here. What does this mean for the solar industry, for Namasté Solar, and, most importantly, for solar customers?

Solar Tariff Impact on the Solar Industry

This is by no means good news if you support the shift to clean energy. It will slow progress and the growth of the solar industry. However, because solar still offers very attractive economics for customers, progress will continue – even if at a slower pace.

It is important to note that the solar tariff is only on the price of solar panels. The whole cost of going solar isn’t going up, only the cost of panels. Because of this, the tariff will disproportionately impact large utility-scale solar projects because solar panels are a bigger percentage of the overall cost of those projects. Prices for homeowners and commercial property owners will be impacted much less because solar panels make up a smaller percentage of the total cost for those smaller projects.

Impact on Namasté Solar

This trade case has been pending for many months, and Namasté Solar took that time to plan ahead and prepare. Our forecasts were based on a 30% solar panel tariff, so we prepared for and took action based on this scenario. The solar panel tariff is not the decision we wanted, but we were ready nonetheless.

We have been in business since 2005 and have seen many ups and downs in the solar industry during that time. This storm, like others before it, will pass. We are confident that the growth of solar will continue, and Namasté Solar will continue to be a part of that growth. Long-term thinking is one of the core values of our company, and we remain committed to making solar energy easy and accessible.

Impact on Residential Customers

The economics of solar energy have made it a good financial investment for many years now, and though this tariff is a setback, solar remains a fantastic deal for many homeowners. The 30% federal tax credit is still in place, solar still insulates you from rising utility costs, and solar panels still pay for themselves over time. These factors haven’t changed.

The impact of the solar panel tariff on homeowners is minimized in part because we planned ahead for this outcome. Namasté took steps to procure additional solar panels in advance of the tariff and wrote our business plans for the coming year with the tariff in mind. In the past, we have weathered pricing pressures from utilities, reductions in rebates, and other challenges. This is just one more challenge that we are ready to face while still offering clean solar savings to our customers.

Impact on Commercial Customers

The solar tariff will have the most impact on our commercial customers with large installations, but they will also see additional savings from the new tax bill. The tax bill delivered some unexpected benefits in the form of the reduced corporate tax rate and the changes to allow 100% of an asset’s value to be depreciated in the first year. Both will have a significant positive impact on the financial feasibility of commercial solar projects. Because of these tax changes, commercial solar energy will pay for itself in a shorter amount of time, see higher return on investment, and see increased net present values. Read Greentech Media’s assessment of the economic impacts the tax bill will have on commercial solar projects.

The Bottom Line

The movement to clean solar may be slowed by this solar panel tariff, but it will not be stopped. Solar still offers significant cost savings for homeowners and commercial property owners alike and will continue to grow as source of clean, independent energy for our country. It’s one more challenge to face, but Namasté Solar and the solar industry are both here to stay.


Considering making the switch to solar here in Colorado? Contact us or call 303.447.0300 to get a free quote!

How Long Do Solar Panels Last: Lifespan & Maintenance

How Long Do Solar Panels Last: Lifespan & Maintenance


Maybe it’s because the top layer of a solar panel is glass. Or maybe it’s because solar panels look vulnerable up on roofs where they are exposed to the elements. Whatever the reason, many people ask “how long do solar panels last?” when thinking about installing a residential solar system. It’s a fair question to ask, and people are pleasantly surprised to hear that solar panels have a long lifespan and minimal maintenance costs.

How Long Do Solar Panels Last?

Solar technology is relatively new, and we’re still learning about the limits of a solar panel’s lifespan. That’s because some of the earliest panels still haven’t maxed out! For example, there is a Kyocera solar panel system in Japan that has been continuously operating since its original installation in 1984 – that’s over 30 years ago! One homeowner tested his solar panel from 1980 and found that, after being on his roof for 30 years, the panel was still performing to factory specs.

And those are some of the earliest solar panels that were produced! Technology and design has vastly improved since 1980, so the outlook is great for modern solar panels. Today, most solar panel manufacturers offer a 25-year warranty on their panels. This is one more measure of confidence in the solar panel’s lifespan, but it’s expected that panels will still continue to operate for years to come after that warranty expires.

How Durable Are Solar Panels?

The solar cells inside a solar panel, the parts that are responsible for creating electricity from sunlight, are very fragile. That’s why there are multiple protective layers over the solar cells, including the top layer of high-impact glass. These protective layers are all put to the test to meet international standards, but many companies test their panels to go above and beyond for added durability.

During testing, solar panels are exposed to extreme temperatures (both hot and cold), high humidity conditions, strong wind forces, and heavy loads that simulate snow or ice pack. They are also blasted with simulated hail; the international standards require that solar panels are able to withstand 25mm (1 inch) diameter hailstones traveling at 23 meters per second (51 miles per hour).

For a real-life example, let’s look at a solar installation on the front range of Colorado. In 2017, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) facility in Golden, Colorado experienced a hailstorm with hailstones up to 2.75 inches in diameter that caused extensive damage to many roofs in the area. The NREL facility has 3,168 solar panels on their roof, so you might expect to see damage to a significant number of these panels. In the end, only one solar panel in the entire array was damaged! That is a great testament to the durability of solar panels.

Solar Panel Maintenance Cost & Needs

Once installed, solar panels are typically very low maintenance. This is largely because there are no moving parts in the system. The only maintenance cost that is certain is the inverter, which is typically replaced after the system has been operating for roughly 15 years. We don’t want you to experience any surprises, so Namasté includes this cost in the initial assessment of a customer’s long-term savings and payback year. We also offer an extendable warranty to cover the inverter for 20 years for additional peace of mind.

In the end, maintenance is very minimal for most residential solar systems. We get a number of requests for general system inspections; it’s an optional check-up for your system that provides peace of mind that everything is operating at maximum capacity. We also get many maintenance requests for systems installed by other companies that are no longer in business or that simply don’t offer service in the area.

Solar Panel Lifespan

Even though they are out in the open and exposed to the elements, solar panels are designed to be very durable and resilient. Every year more residential and commercial solar systems are installed, and each of these new systems will be a real-life experiment that will test the lifespan of new solar panels. These real-world experiments will tell us more about how long solar panels last, but there is plenty of evidence already to show that solar panels can last 30 years and beyond. Hopefully this gives you more confidence that solar panels are a worth it (for many reasons!) and that your solar panels will convert sunlight into energy for your home and family for many years to come.


Considering making the switch to solar here in Colorado? Contact us or call 303.447.0300 to get a free quote!

Average Cost of Solar Panels & the Difference Between Panels

Average Cost of Solar Panels & the Difference Between Panels


Solar panels are the heart of any solar energy system, so this post will cover the average cost of solar panels while also helping you learn more about the differences between solar panels. You can also learn more about how solar panels work if you want to know the science behind the remarkable technology that captures energy from the sun.

But before we start, can we take a minute to appreciate how cool solar technology is? It all starts in the sun’s core where nuclear fusion releases both heat and light. This heat and light radiates out to our little blue and green planet almost 93 million miles away, and once those rays get here, we’ve created solar panels to capture energy from the sun’s rays and transform it into the electricity that we use to power our modern lives. That is absolutely remarkable and inspiring to think about!

Average Cost of Solar Panels Over Time

Did you know that the first solar cell able to convert sunlight into electricity was invented in 1838? The initial technology didn’t take off, but that didn’t stop others from continuing to explore ways to capture solar energy. The first solar cell capable of powering everyday electrical equipment was born in 1954 at Bell Telephone Laboratories, and from there the technology has been developing and improving at an impressive rate. (Learn more about the history of solar.)

As innovation has continued, the average cost of solar panels has dropped dramatically. In 1977, during the early days of solar technology, solar cost a whopping $77 per watt. Solar modules can now cost as little as $0.35 per watt for some of the lower-quality modules. Today the price of solar panels has become fairly stable, though new developments continue to improve on the technology and its efficiency.


Differences Between Solar Panels

Solar cells are the basic unit of solar technology. Multiple solar cells are connected together to make one solar module or panel. The basic way that solar cells gather sunlight into electricity is the same for every panel, but there are differences in manufacturing that create differences between solar panels.

When it comes to the solar cells themselves, the two most common types are monocrystalline and polycrystalline. The differences between these two solar cells stems from the manufacturing process and how the silicone they’re made of is melted and then reformed. When manufacturing monocrystalline solar panels, silicon is melted and reformed into single crystal cylinders. These cylinders are then cut into square wafers to be used for the solar cells. The process is more expensive and wastes some silicon, but it results in higher efficiency panels because of the higher purity of the silicon crystal.

When manufacturing polycrystalline solar panels, silicon is melted, poured into a square mold, and allowed to cool. Multiple crystals form as the silicon cools within the mold, and the square mold can then be cut into neat, square wafers for the solar cells. This process is less expensive and reduces silicon waste, but the result is a less efficient panel because of the lower purity of the silicon crystals.

A handful of other technologies, like thin film solar cells or clear solar cells, are in development. These technologies are not yet competitive, but as time goes on, innovation and new discoveries will surely bring new advances to the solar industry. Wondering if you should wait for the next big discovery? It’s tempting, but you might be waiting and waiting until you’ve already missed out on the solar savings you could have accumulated by investing now. The technology available today is already a great investment that will pay for itself over time and save you money in the end.

Choosing Your Solar Panels

So how do you know which solar panels will the best choice for your home solar installation? Do you pay more for higher efficiency panels or do you go with more economical panels for your array? In the end, it’s more about the design of your solar array system than it is about the specific efficiency of your solar panels. Namasté Solar only works with high-quality panels so you won’t have to choose between bad, good, or great panels. Instead, we focus on your customized design and providing the best system for your home that will maximize your return on investment. (Learn more about the cost to go solar to better understand what factors play into the final system price.)

For example, a home with plenty of usable roof space can use less efficient, though still high-quality, panels to save on cost and increase ROI potential. A home with less usable roof space or aesthetic concerns may use higher efficiency panels to achieve the same energy production potential with a smaller system. The panels may be the star of the show, but a well-designed solar panel system that is customized to your home and your needs is where the real magic happens.


Want to learn about your home’s solar potential? Contact us or call 303.447.0300 to get a free quote!

Solar Energy Cost Per kWh (And What Is a kWh, Anyway?)

Solar Energy Cost Per kWh (And What Is a kWh, Anyway?)


If it’s been many years since your last physics lesson, get ready for a quick refresher on the basics of how we measure the power and energy of solar panel systems. We promise we won’t lecture, but we also know these are tricky concepts to grasp. If you aren’t in the mood for nerdy watt talk right now, take a kitten break instead! If you are ready, then we’re going to cover the basic measurements of solar energy to help you understand solar energy cost per kilowatt hour (kWh) and kilowatt (kW).

When looking at installing solar panels on your home, you’ll receive quotes that detail your system size in terms of kW and will sometimes provide you a cost based on kWh. Since we don’t use these units of measurement on a daily basis, they can cause confusion. Our goal is to break down these basic measurements to help you understand what each unit means and to help you better assess any proposals for home solar energy systems.

What Is a kW and a kWh?

Dieters are concerned with counting calories while gear heads are interested in horsepower. If you’re in the dark and relying on your battery-powered flashlight, you’re relying on amp hours stored in those batteries. There are many different measurements of energy and power, each unique to the specific applications. For solar energy, we’re talking about kilowatts and kilowatt hours.

The watt is the standard unit used to measure electrical power, and 1,000 watts equal a kilowatt (kW). This is what you’ll find on appliances to express how much power it uses. For example, the standard incandescent light bulb uses 60 watts while a more efficient LED bulb might use only 9 watts to produce the same amount of light. Hair dryers can use anywhere from 600 watts on the low end to a whopping 3600 watts for professional blow dryers. Refrigerators run on between 150-400 watts, and washing machines use around 500 watts.

The wattage is used to express how much power something uses. If measured over time, then we’re talking about energy. That’s where the kilowatt hour (kWh) comes in. A kWh is a measure of how much energy you’re using, but it doesn’t simply refer to how much energy you’re using each hour. A kWh is equivalent to using 1,000 watts of electricity for an hour. Said another way, a kWh is the amount of energy you would use if a 1,000-watt hair dryer ran for an hour. A 500-watt washing machine would have to run for two hours to use 1 kWh. (That’s as deep as we’ll go here, but feel free to dig in if you want more information on power vs energy.)

Even though we use electricity every day, the kWh is not an intuitive measurement because it doesn’t compare to more familiar terms like miles per hour. It’s OK if the concept isn’t crystal clear. The important part is that you know how to look at proposals for home solar panel systems so you are able to accurately compare offers.

Solar Energy Cost Per kWh and kW

You’re energized about solar, you made the call to a local solar installer, and now you have a proposal in hand. You’re probably staring at this proposal and trying to make sense of which number will tell you whether solar is the right choice for you or not. If you received multiple quotes, you may be comparing apples to oranges if one company gave you cost per kW while the other gave cost per kWh.

Comparing Solar Proposals by Cost per kW

The first way to look at the cost of solar is by watt or kilowatt. The cost per watt is a simple measurement calculated by taking the total cost of the system and dividing it by the watt capacity of the system. (System wattage = number of panels × each panel’s production rating) This might be shown in cost per watt or cost per kW (remember 1 kW = 1000 watts). As an example, if a 4 kW system costs $13200, the cost per watt is $3.3 while the cost per kilowatt is $3,300.

The great thing about this number is that it’s straightforward and easy to understand. If two proposals each show you a cost per watt or kW, you are comparing apples to apples. This number represents the cost of the proposed system’s power capacity, but does not tell you about the system’s potential to produce energy.

Comparing Solar Proposals by Cost per kWh

Home solar proposals will often also list the solar energy cost per kWh, but unfortunately, this number is not as straightforward. So even though “cost per kWh” is listed on both, you might be comparing apples to oranges (or you might have a mango!). This is because the cost per kWh does not have a universal equation, and the final number can be influenced by using different calculations. How does each calculation take into account design elements like roof tilt, orientation, or shading? Does each proposal’s calculation use the same climate data to forecast for how much energy your panels will produce? Does the proposal estimate the lifetime of your system to be 20, 25, or 30 years? Each of these factors will change the final cost per kWh shown.

So why even look at kWh? For one, the cost per kWh can be informative because it allows you to compare the cost of solar to your utility costs. The solar energy cost per kWh can also help you compare two system proposals because two systems of the same kW size could produce different total kWh because of design choices. Just remember that it’s a subjective number, and feel free to ask your solar company to walk you through how they calculate solar energy cost per kWh.

Be Informed

Congratulations if you made it this far! The kilowatt hour is a unique unit of measurement that trips up many people trying to understand how much solar energy costs or how much energy their solar panels produce. We hope we gave you enough information to better understand any proposals you receive for home solar, but you can also use the expertise of your local solar installer. Our home solar advisors are here to answer any of your solar questions. Our team doesn’t work on commission, so you can be sure that our #1 goal is to help you compare apples to apples and get the most from your home solar system.


Want to learn about your home’s solar potential? Contact us or call 303.447.0300 to get a free quote!