Guest post from Flatiron Solar, a Boulder solar installation company
Our air, our water, our own Planet Earth: with energy sources all around us, scientists continue to search for new, efficient means of energy production. This search has led many countries to make a solid commitment to increase efforts to harness the sun’s unlimited energy in the form of solar energy.
The United States is among the top producers in the world when it comes to solar energy. This shift toward solar has largely been a residential effort rather than a commercial one, with more than half a million homes utilizing some form of solar energy equipment. Among the top game-changing cities is Boulder, one of the best places in the nation to turn to solar, where city and county efforts have led to drafting legislation committed to renewable energy.
According to the City of Boulder, there are between 14 and 15 megawatts of solar energy produced within the city (you can view a map of solar installations here). The city was also recognized as a SolSmart City, being awarded the highest designation for its commitment to renewable energy last year. The city has an online solar tool that can help you estimate efficiency and cost.
Aside from its unyielding commitment to the creation and sustainability of renewable energy, what makes Boulder such a great location for solar?
To be effective, solar power relies on good old fashioned sunshine. Boulder has roughly 300 sunny days per year, which means it’s a great location to gather energy through solar panels. And snow? What snow? Even during the fall and winter months, Boulder gets enough sunshine to still be a productive generator of solar energy.
City grants and rebates
If you’re thinking of installing a solar electrical system or solar hot water system on your property, the City of Boulder has a number of grants and rebates available, primarily for non-profit organizations and low-to-moderate-income housing.
To receive funding, you must submit an application to the city. Your local solar contractor should be familiar with the rebate and grant programs available to you, and will help walk you through the process. Click here to find out more about local funding programs.
It’s no secret that property value in Boulder is a hot topic right now. Real estate is moving at a record pace in our area, and as a seller, solar panels may be a boon for your home’s resale value (ergo, your bank account).
According to a study by the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, buyers are willing to pay on average $15,000 more for a home that has solar panels than for a similar home without a renewable energy system. This means that you can recoup most—if not all—your installation costs through the added value to your home, in addition to lowering your monthly bills and enjoying the pride that comes with owning an energy-efficient home.
Should I switch?
Superior sunshine, city incentives, and increased value aside, it all boils down to this primary question: as a Boulder County resident, should you be switching to solar? For preliminary research into the best option for you, use the tools the city provides on its website and talk to a local solar contractor about the costs and benefits of installing solar in your home.