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If you drove through Fort Collins a few years ago, the limited houses with solar panels were likely home to serious environmentalists. Back then, owning solar was about making a statement about clean, renewable energy as much as it was about the production of it.
How times have changed!
Today, residential rooftop solar still helps keep Colorado’s air clean and our views of snow-capped mountains clear but now it also does something universally appealing — it saves homeowners money.
The reasons are simple. The cost of producing solar panels has dropped precipitously. Now companies can make money even while decreasing homeowners’ electric bills — a win-win situation. Warranties have so improved that the risk for homeowners has all but evaporated. And our beautiful Colorado sunbathes the Front Range in its energy-producing power somewhere around 300 days a year. Combine all of that and solar energy has become a mainstream method to pay less for electricity.
There are still things to be aware of such as those all-important warranties. They vary across the industry. While one company might have a 25-year warranty for everything, completely eliminating the risk for the homeowner, others only cover everything for 10 years. Some companies with good warranties are so big they can’t possibly respond to every customer in a timely fashion which can be frustrating for homeowners needing a replacement part. Some might use sub-par materials, making it more likely that you’ll experience problems with your solar array. Still, others sub-contract much of the work, making it hard to know who’s responsible for problems.
But with the right company, the benefits far outweigh any drawbacks. Add in a federal tax credit of 26% of the total cost and installing a solar array on your rooftop makes a lot of sense.
The secret to making solar work for you is simple — find a reputable company that:
1) Uses quality products
2) Doesn’t sub-contract (so you know who to contact)
3) Has warranties that last at least until you pay off the panels (so any problems that may arise are quickly dealt with at no expense to you)
4) Can set up financing that keeps your monthly electricity payment the same or lower than it currently is (unless you choose to pay off your system early)
Today when I drive through my neighborhood, more rooftops have solar panels than when I moved in, including mine — but not nearly as many as would make sense. Rooftop solar is no longer just a statement of support for clean Colorado air. Now, it’s also a smart, easy way to save money on your electric bill. And that’s something everybody can get excited about.
Joe Siple is a husband, father, award-winning author, and Solar Sales Representative for Apollo Energy, a locally owned “Turn-Key Residential Solar Provider”. Apollo is the only woman-owned solar company in Colorado with high customer satisfaction resulting from complete transparency and long-term partnership.