Frequently Asked Questions
The energy savings provided by solar panels translate into better value for your home. The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) found that every dollar saved on energy through solar increases home value by $20.
That’s a return on investment of 20 to 1. When you sell your house, these better savings equal bigger profits.
According to Zillow, homes with solar panels sell for approximately 4 percent higher on average than homes without solar energy. That means an added value of about $9,200.
Net metering is the system that utilities use to credit solar energy system owners for the electricity produced by their solar panels. With net metering, you only pay for the electricity that you use beyond what your solar panels can generate.
In Colorado, net metering allows for customers to receive a credit for every kilowatt-hour their solar panels produce at the same price residential customers are charged for electricity, up to 120% of their electricity demand for Investor Owned Utilities (e.g. Xcel Energy and Black Hills) or capped at 10 kilowatts for residential for municipal (e.g. Fort Collins) and cooperative utilities (e.g. electric cooperatives who purchase wholesale power from Tri-State or other power providers). As an example, the Yampa Valley Electric Association, an electric cooperative, provides 1:1 credit for solar up to 100% of production, and then a 3.3 cent credit for generation in excess of 100%.
Any excess production of kilowatt-hours can roll over to the next month’s bill. If the net production of electricity remains above consumption for a calendar year, then the utility must reimburse the customer if they don’t elect to roll it over. In March of 2018, solar-plus-storage systems were made eligible for net metering as well.
If your solar panel system is connected to the grid, it will shut off in the event of a blackout. This is to prevent emergency responders and electricity utility repair-people from being injured by your panels sending power back to the grid. However, there are certain inverters you can buy that provide backup power in a blackout when paired with a battery.