While Coloradoans pay some of the lowest electricity bills in the country, the rates can vary widely across the state. They’ve also been creeping higher over the years. Colorado recently ranked No. 12 in the US for total installed solar capacity, and the costs of buying a solar system have fallen dramatically in the Centennial State over the past 10 years. 

Many residents adopt solar power for reasons beyond cost savings, too. They do it to reduce their carbon footprints and generally help the environment, said Mike Kruger, CEO and president of the Colorado Solar & Storage Association.

“There’s a culture of people who move here because of the beauty,” Kruger said. “They love the four seasons and the snow — it’s a big part of the economy. We’re seeing a lot of homeowners and businesses who are installing solar panels because they want to ‘do the right thing.'”

If you’re thinking about adding a solar system to your property, there’s plenty of sunlight to harness in the Denver area, which gets nearly 300 days of sunshine every year. Here are some of the best solar panel installation companies in Denver. 

Best national solar panel companies in Denver

Palmetto Solar

Best overall

Solar panels are typically low maintenance equipment, but they’re also unfamiliar. If you want to reap the benefits of solar but will have a bit more peace of mind if someone else is making sure it’s working, Palmetto might be a good fit for you. Just remember to add the cost of Palmetto’s monitoring service in to your payback period calculations.


Best solar panels

If you’re looking for top-of-the-line solar panels, SunPower is your best choice. But don’t write it off if you’re looking for a less flashy installation that will get the job done. This year it started installing Qcells panels, which should make an installation from the longest-tenured company on our list available to more people.

Include Freedom Forever in your search if you want the backing of a national company that installs a wide variety of the most popular solar equipment available. Freedom Forever also extends a couple of products that take some of the pain and risk out of going solar, like a production guarantee and an escrow option with cash purchases. Online reviews say customer satisfaction has been low of late, but the company says that’s changing.

Read full review.

Tesla Solar

Most affordable

Tesla’s solar branch seems to be the least loved of Elon Musk’s ventures. Even Tesla’s Solar Roof seems to get more love.

If price is the thing you won’t budge on, consider Tesla. By all accounts, Tesla installs quality panels and makes the closest thing there is to a household name in solar storage: the Powerwall.

Where you might miss out is customer service. Discussion online seems to suggest Tesla’s service is a bit of a gamble.

Local solar panel installers in Denver

Denver-based Photon Brothers was launched in 2013 and now services Colorado’s front-range urban corridor and California’s central coast. The company installs solar panels but also offers other services, such as panel repairs and maintenance, roofing projects, and residential battery installations. You get a 25-year production warranty that covers all part and labor costs and guarantees your solar system will reach a minimum annual energy production each year. You can lease or finance your purchase with $0 down in some cases.

Denver solar panel incentives and rebates

Colorado lacks the solar tax credits and incentives offered in some other states, but residents have a few ways to save money when purchasing residential solar panels. 

The federal residential clean energy credit, for instance, allows you to claim 30% of the cost of a solar system on your federal income taxes for the year. So if you install a $24,000 system, for example, you can claim a credit for $7,200 on your federal income tax return. 

You also won’t pay state sales taxes when buying solar panels in Denver, which shaves 2.9% off your system right out of the gate. All of Colorado’s utility companies also offer net metering, which allows you to earn credits when your solar panels produce more energy than you use. You’ll receive a credit at the retail electricity rate, and those credits never expire.

Denver solar incentives

Program Description
Residential clean energy credit This federal tax credit reimburses you 30% of the costs to install a solar panel system.
Sales and use tax exemption for renewable energy equipment When you buy solar panels, you won’t pay state sales taxes (2.9%) on the purchase.
Net metering If your solar panels produce more energy than you use, net metering allows you to sell the excess power back to the grid. Utility companies in Colorado pay a one-to-one retail rate and provide it to you as a credit that you can use against future electric bills.
Weatherization assistance program This statewide initiative provides income-eligible residents with various weatherization services.

Cost of solar panels in Denver

Here’s a look at the average cash price for a typical solar panel system in Colorado before factoring in tax credits and incentives, according to data from FindEnergy.com.

Average cost of solar panels in Colorado

Typical system size (kW) Price per watt Total installed cost Cost after 30% federal tax credit
Colorado 5 $3.98 $19,900 $13,930
National average 8.6 $3.67 $31,558 $22,091

Here’s an infographic that’ll put into perspective the average total cash price, cost per watt and system size for a solar panel system throughout the United States, according to data from FindEnergy.com. The prices we show don’t factor in tax credits or state incentives. Certain states don’t have any FindEnergy solar data and are grayed out on the map.

How to determine which solar company is best for me

There are 38 solar companies in Denver alone, so finding the right one can feel overwhelming. We’ve put together some guidance on how to find the best one for your situation.

First contact several companies that install solar panels in Denver. While researching the companies, look at:

  • Customer service ratings: Look at third-party ratings websites, such as TrustPilot and Yelp. The companies should have a few dozen reviews or more with a relatively high customer-satisfaction score.
  • Products: What type of solar panels, batteries and inverters does the company use? Does the company have several options to choose from?
  • Warranties: How long will your solar panels be protected, and what’s included in the guarantee?
  • Maintenance: How will you monitor and maintain your solar panels? Who can you contact for maintenance? 

Make a list of three to five installation companies that offer strong customer service, high-quality products, strong warranties and reasonable maintenance. Call the providers and ask for a quote. You can also ask any questions you may have, such as:

  • Do you have experience working with the type of roof I have and the type of system I’m installing?
  • Are you certified by the North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners, or NABCEP?
  • Are you licensed to work in Denver?
  • What’s a realistic deadline for my project?
  • What’s the process of installing solar panels in my area?

When speaking with the company, consider whether the representative can break down any technical terms and explain the pricing and process. 

Installation factors to keep in mind

Solar panels have many benefits. However, they might not be the best fit for your home. Here’s what to consider.

What are your goals? Solar panel systems can be a great way to become independent from the grid, use a clean energy source and improve your home value. “But if you want to save money, then you’ll need to consider how long you plan to be in your home,” Kruger said. “Will it be longer than the payback period, or am I helping the guy I sell my house to get his bills paid?”

Your roof’s condition and pitch: Before installing solar panels on your roof, the company should inspect your roof and ensure it’s in good condition. They’ll also need to check the pitch of your roof because it impacts the productivity of your solar panels as well as the cost of installation. 

Do you need a battery? A solar battery is necessary if you want to keep your house powered during blackouts. In Denver, the occasional tornado, wildfire or blizzard could cause temporary blackouts, but solar batteries become crucial in the mountain communities, where “an avalanche or wildfire can knock out the power for a long, long time,” Kruger said.

Homeowners associations and neighborhood rules: Colorado has solar access laws, which allow residents to install solar panels even if they live in an HOA. So you may need to notify the HOA of your plans and follow standard rules, but the HOA won’t be able to restrict solar panel installations altogether.

Insurance coverage: It’s a good idea to include your solar panels in your homeowners insurance policy. Check with your insurance provider to see if they cover rooftop solar panels and how the system will affect your premium. 

Maintenance: Solar panel maintenance is minimal, but “you’re buying an appliance—and appliances come with maintenance,” Kruger said. “You hope you won’t need any, but you’re probably going to over the course of 20 years.” You may need to monitor the panels, clean them occasionally and address leaks and other problems immediately. 

How to pay for solar panels in Denver

In Denver, there are no statewide or local programs to help cut the costs of installing solar panels on your property. So after taking the federal tax credit, you’ll need to cover the remaining cost out of pocket. This has created challenges for some Denver residents, who are facing higher interest rates.

“Financing a project gets more expensive and the payback period—the amount of time it takes to break even—has increased,” Kruger said. “So we’ve seen a decline in residential solar installs in the last six months due to that higher interest rate.”

To help with financing issues, installers are coming up with new product offerings, Kruger added. 

Here are some ways you can pay for solar panels (and some of them avoid interest altogether).

Cash: If you have time to save up cash and pay for the solar system upfront, then you’ll avoid interest costs and ongoing loan payments. Putting money in a high-yield savings account can help your money grow a bit quicker, meaning you’ll have more cash to work with when you’re ready.

Solar loan: A solar loan typically works like a personal loan, so it covers the costs of your system upfront and you repay the debt over time through installment payments (with interest). You may be able to take out a solar loan through a bank or credit union, or work with your solar installation company to get financing options. As with any loan, look for associated fees and interest rates. 

Home equity loan, or HELOC: A home equity loan provides a lump sum of money upfront, and you make installment payments with a fixed interest rate over several years. A HELOC gives you access to a line of credit, so you pay interest only on what you draw. Both lending options are secured against the equity in your home. So if you fail to pay them back, the lender can foreclose on your house. 

Lease or power purchase agreement: Both options allow you to put solar panels on your roof without actually purchasing them. The lease agreement essentially lets you rent the panels, while a power purchase agreement requires you to pay for the power generated.

How we evaluate solar companies

The companies we listed above as “the best” are curated from CNET’s best solar companies list. Companies making the best list are scored on the equipment, warranties and customer service they offer. Then, we make sure these recommendations are available in your state. You can read a full breakdown of how we review solar companies here.

Companies listed under the local installers were chosen in a less rigorous way. We chose them because they offered something unique or notable to customers in the state, they seemed well-regarded by internet reviewers or because they were one of the few installers we could find information on in the state.

Whether we’ve completed a full review on a company or not, it’s always a good idea to get multiple quotes from different installers before choosing a company.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the advantages of solar panels?

There are several benefits to going solar. Solar panels help you become energy independent, save money on your electric bills and use a clean energy source. They can also add around $15,000 of value to your home and make it more desirable, according to the US Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.

How long does it take to pay off solar panels?

The average solar payback period in the US is six to 12 years, but yours depends on the system you choose, whether you qualify for solar incentives and how you pay for the project. 

Let’s say you install a solar panel system for $20,000 and claim the federal tax credit. Now your net cost is $14,000. You also know the panels will help you save about $1,800 a year on electricity bills. So, $14,000 divided by $1,800 is 7.77. That means your solar payback period is around seven years and eight months.

Does Colorado offer a solar tax credit?

No, Colorado does not offer a solar tax credit.