Electrify Colorado: A Friendly Guide to Home Electrification

EV car in nature as symbol for clean environment.

As we strive to reduce our carbon footprint and embrace sustainable living, transitioning our homes to electricity is an important step forward. If you’re a resident of Colorado looking to prepare your home for electrification, you’ve come to the right place! In this guide, we’ll walk you through the essential steps and provide you with helpful resources to make your journey towards a greener home a smooth one. So, let’s dive in and get started!

  1. Educate Yourself: Before embarking on your home electrification project, it’s crucial to have a solid understanding of the process and the options available to you. The Colorado Energy Office (CEO) is an excellent resource that offers information on electrification, energy efficiency, and renewable energy programs in CO. Visit their website at www.colorado.gov/energyoffice to find detailed guides, FAQs, and other valuable resources.
  2. Assess Your Home’s Energy Needs: Every home is unique, and understanding your energy consumption patterns is essential to making informed decisions. Start by conducting an energy audit to evaluate your home’s current energy usage and identify areas for improvement. Xcel Energy, Colorado’s largest electricity provider, offers free energy audits and rebates to its customers. Visit their website at www.xcelenergy.com to learn more about their energy efficiency programs and how to schedule an audit.
  3. Evaluate Electrification Options: Once you have a clear picture of your energy needs, it’s time to explore the electrification options available for your home. Key areas to consider include heating, cooling, solar, electric vehicle (EV) charging, water heating, cooking, and transportation. For heating and cooling solutions, heat pumps are the future due to their energy efficiency. The Colorado Renewable Energy Society (CRES) provides an informative guide to heat pumps on their website at www.cres-energy.org.
  4. Find Qualified Contractors: To ensure a successful home electrification project, it’s crucial to work with experienced professionals. Of course, we believe Independent Power is the best option for addressing all of your electrification projects with one partner, but we recognize that everyone needs to assestheir options.  The Colorado Solar and Storage Association (COSSA) maintains a directory of licensed and certified contractors who specialize in solar installations and energy-efficient solutions. You can find their contractor directory at www.coloradosolar.org to connect with qualified professionals in your area.
  5. Research Incentives and Rebates: Colorado offers various incentives and rebates to encourage homeowners to transition to clean energy solutions. The Database of State Incentives for Renewables & Efficiency (DSIRE) provides a comprehensive list of financial incentives, tax credits, and utility rebates available in Colorado. Visit their website at www.dsireusa.org to explore the current programs and determine which ones you may qualify for.
  6. Plan for Charging Infrastructure: If you’re considering purchasing an electric vehicle (EV) or already own one, planning for charging infrastructure is crucial. The Alternative Fuels Data Center provides a helpful guide on EV charging stations, available grants, and resources in Colorado. Access their website at www.afdc.energy.gov to discover the latest information on charging infrastructure development and incentives.

Conclusion: Preparing your home for electrification in Colorado is an exciting journey towards a greener and more sustainable future. By educating yourself, assessing your home’s energy needs, exploring electrification options, finding qualified contractors, researching incentives, and planning for charging infrastructure, you’re taking significant steps in the right direction. Remember, the resources provided in this guide are just the beginning—keep exploring and learning to make the most informed decisions for your home electrification project. Good luck on your path to a more

heat pump outdoors

Denver’s NEW Rebates Promise Homeowners Thousands in Energy-Efficient Savings

Denver’s NEW Climate Action Rebates Promise Homeowners

Thousands of Dollars in Energy-Efficient Savings

The secret is out! Denver, Colorado is one of the fastest-growing cities in the country and we’re all looking for ways to make our homes smarter and more energy efficient. On Earth Day, April 22, 2022, the City of Denver launched an exciting, new incentive program to ensure more people can electrify their homes. Recognizing funding is a major hurdle for many, the new Climate Action Rebates provide a path to lower monthly bills with more clean-energy solutions.

“If we can make adopting electric equipment easy and cost-effective, and in some instances free, we are removing barriers for homeowners ready to make that switch,” said Grace Rink, Denver’s chief climate officer. “This program will reduce energy costs, improve our health and air quality, and get us that much closer to our city’s ambitious climate goals.”

The Denver Energy Office and Xcel Energy will collaborate to give homeowners up-front discounts on home electrification, including solar panels, heat pumps, battery storage systems, electric vehicle charging stations, and even electric bikes (though they’re going fast – sign up for notifications about when the e-bike voucher application will be active again). These rebates can cover up to 80% of the total installed project costs or up to 100% of the cost through income-qualified rebates. To learn more about them, check out this helpful guide.

Who is eligible?

All Denver residents can take advantage of the rebates. The upgrades must be on an existing single-family or multi-family structure (four units or less and not new construction). If you’re ready to make these electrifying changes and are an Xcel Energy customer, you can simply select an approved contractor. Once you schedule your installation, your contractor will design your solution, request all necessary permits and guide you through the process to save.

What is included?

Homeowners can stack Denver’s rebates on top of Xcel’s electrification rebates to easily install home upgrades powered by renewable energy sources. Eligible equipment includes:

  • Battery storage
  • Air source heat pump
  • Ground source heat pump
  • Mini-split heat pump
  • Heat pump water heaters
  • Bidirectional electric vehicle charging/V2B
  • Electric vehicle charging home wiring

If you have or will install a heat pump, a heat pump water heater, or a bidirectional electric vehicle charger as part of the rebate program, you are eligible for additional rebates, including:

  • Solar panels
  • Electric service upgrade

Battery Storage: $500-$2,750

Battery storage is quickly becoming key for clean energy-systems to store the electricity generated by your solar panels. Batteries provide around-the-clock power anytime and in any weather, even – and especially during – a power outage. Battery storage can replace backup generators to keep appliances and other essentials running for days at a time.

Heat Pumps: $4,500-$9,000

If you have an HVAC system for your heating and cooling needs, an air source heat pump might be a great option. These systems use outside air to cool in hot summer months, and can also be used to warm in the winter. The cost of installing these systems is often offset by the latest rebates so the sooner you install, the more money you’ll save on energy bills over time. These pumps qualify for a rebate of $7,000 at high efficiency and up to $9,000 for colder climates. Denver residents will enjoy generous rebates for ground source heat pumps, systems that use underground pipes to transfer heat from one location to another. There are also incentives for mini-split heat pumps, often used to heat smaller spaces, such as bedrooms and offices.

Electric Vehicle Charging: $1,000

Experts expect 52% of new vehicle sales will be all-electric by 2030 and we wnat you to be ready for it. More Denver residents are installing charging stations for their electric vehicles (EV) and plug-in hybrids at home than ever before. The latest incentive is a wonderful way to future-proof your transportation with the latest, most powerful EV fast and ultra-fast charging.

Electric Service Upgrades: $2,000

Denver residents can enjoy significant savings on monthly electric bills by upgrading to more efficient electrical service panels. You can take advantage of new, energy-efficient appliances and be eligible for up to $2,000 off your new electrical service installation. This rebate is available when it is paired with an air source heat pump, ground source heat pump system or other rebate that requires an electrical service upgrade to better manage more energy.

Solar Panels: Many Amazing Discounts

There are many options and ways to save when you “go solar” in Colorado. Some of these rebates can save you thousands of dollars, especially if you qualify for the federal investment tax credit to save 26% of your total installation cost. This means that if you spend $10,000 on your complete system, you will get a $2,600 tax credit! Also, you’ll enjoy amazing state-level incentives and rebates from Xcel Energy and Denver’s energy offices.

You can also install a solar system to charge your EV and receive double benefits on incentives. Solar rebates are subject to new updates so be sure to select a solar installation partner who can help you navigate the latest policies, qualify for rebates and maintain and update your system along the way.

The city of Denver also introduced the Denver Solar Equity Rebate Pilot Program, a pilot program to help more households make money-saving energy improvements with neighbors. This program offers cash incentives to offset the initial costs of solar system installation as just one example of how Colorado is working hard to become a leader in renewable energy.

The pilot program includes a $5,000 rebate ($3,000 for solar and a $2,000 battery storage rebate) which will be paid to you as part of the Solar Incentive Program. You are eligible if you are a Denver resident, member of the Denver Solar Co-op and provide documentation to affirm enrollment in one of the following:

  • Denver Office of Nonprofit Engagement program
  • State of Colorado Low-Income-Energy Assistance Program (LEAP)
  • Colorado Affordable Residential Energy Program (CARE)
  • Colorado’s Weather Assistance Program (WAP)
  • Xcel Energy’s income-qualified DSM programs
  • Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)
  • Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program (TANF)

How to take advantage?

Whether you have an idea about the kind of clean-energy equipment you’re interested in (click here to see a complete list) or not, Independent Power would be happy to guide your clean-energy adventure by assessing your home, energy usage and more.

When you confirm quotes from approved partners on the Climate Action Rebate Registered Contractors List (PDF, 226KB), make sure to emphasize you’re interested in Denver’s Climate Action and Xcel Energy‘s rebates. When you choose your contractor and schedule an install, discounts for services will be included in your quote and invoice). Your contractor will submit paperwork for the rebate on your behalf to make the process as easy and efficient as possible.

When to do it?

The time is now to make your home more energy efficient. This incentive program is one of the best in the country. Not only does this program offer savings on home improvement projects that will reduce your carbon footprint and lower your monthly bills, but also it offers extra savings if you bundle projects. For instance, if you install a heat pump space heater (max rebate $9,000), solar panels (max rebate $4,000), and battery storage (max rebate $2,750), you could be saving over $15,000. In conjunction with Excel Energy’s solar net metering policies, existing state incentives, and the federal tax credit, the savings do not get better than this!

All in all, rebates are a wonderful way to save on home electrification. If you’re planning to install new home electrical equipment, you can take advantage of the wide variety of rebates and if you combine home electrification with solar, you can even get tax credits! Independent Power would love to help you “power anything” and seek out the maximum amount of savings. Good luck and let us know how we can help!

Going Solar Is A No Brainer With An Electric Vehicle

Electric cars are being ordered from car companies like Tesla, Ford, Kia, Hyundai, and Chevrolet at a faster-than-expected pace. As electric car adoption increases, owners will find it is most convenient to charge their vehicles at home.

This will result in a significant increase in their household electric bills. This increase can be reduced or even eliminated by installing a home Solar PV and backup battery system that will produce all the needed household electricity.

Going Solar Is A No Brainer With An Electric Vehicle

If you are getting an electric car then you should go solar as soon as possible. There are still Federal and state incentives to go solar which include a 26-percent federal tax credit for your total solar and battery installation costs. Work with your solar company to size your system to offset as much of your usage as possible.

When Sizing Your Solar Panel System, Think Bigger Is Better

If your Electric Vehicle is new, you may not completely understand how much electricity you will need to charge your new vehicle. To help ensure you are sizing the system correctly, your Solar Consultant can develop an estimate for you and work with the utility company to provide you with the right system size to best offset your added usage.

How EV Electricity Needs are Calculated

Electric vehicle charging at home with solar energy

Your Solar Consultant will use an approved utility adder chart or do a manual calculation to properly size your system using past utility usage for your home and an estimate for your new EV. For example, let’s assume your new EV will use 300 watt-hours(wh) per mile. For reference, the Tesla Model S averages about 300 wh per mile and a Tesla Model 3 averages over 250 wh per mile. In this example, your new electric car goes about 3.3 miles per kilowatt-hour (kWh) which is the unit that all utility companies use to deliver electricity. So, if you drove 15,000 miles annually, you would need 4,545 kWh’s to cover your electric vehicle charging needs. Using this calculation, you know your system will require an additional 4,545 kWh production to cover the new Electric Vehicle.

Your home Solar PV system will operate 365 days a year, minus some days for rain and snow. A Solar PV system will produce electricity for an average of about 8 hours per day, so we can estimate you would need roughly an additional 2.0kW system to cover your new EV. Homes on average need about a 6kW to offset 100% of the average home electrical needs, so adding an EV could require an 8kW solar system to completely offset your electric bill.

Today’s solar panels vary in output from around 320 watts per panel to 425 watts per panel and usually the higher the panel output the higher each panel costs. But it is important to remember the higher watts per panel will deliver you the best system with the maximize size. This is especially important when you do not have the roof space to add a lot of panels, or your home has shading obstacles or does not face south. Estimating you need an 8kW system equates to needing about 20 panels installed. Currently, solar pricing does vary based on the equipment and design of the system, so for budgeting, we would recommend you assume you will pay $3.40/watt which would be around $27,000 for an 8kW system. This is just an estimate and it is important to remember every system is different and pricing can easily vary +/- 15%.

Financial Relief For Your Big Decision

Going solar can be scary especially when presented with the upfront costs. Thankfully, different financing options are available, but we would recommend you stay away from leases and power purchase agreements (PPA). Going the loan route or paying with cash will allow you to fully take advantage of all incentives and lock in low monthly payments with a loan. Leases and PPAs usually have annual price increases and limit you from taking the incentives or even expanding the system in the future.

SAVINGS OVER TIME

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The $27,000 we mentioned early sounds like a big investment, but this is where it becomes a no-brainer.

  1. First, you will be eligible for a 26% tax credit which reduces the investment to $19,980.
  2. Secondly, you will save on your utility bill by offsetting your home electricity bill with free solar energy. Solar can offset your home electricity bill which usually averages a little over $100 per month, and when you add an EV, you can expect you will be adding another $20 to $40 in electrical usage per month.
  3. The third way you save is by offsetting your gasoline charges. Your new EV can be charged for free using your Solar PV system, saving the average driver about $200 per month. Combining your monthly savings you can estimate you will save over $300 each month going forward, meaning your Solar PV system will pay for itself in about 5 years. After that, your system will continue to save you money for decades while you make clean and renewable energy.

Remember, every situation is different, so working with your IPS Solar Consultant will help design and deliver the best system possible.

Getting A Home Car Charger

Most electric vehicles come with a charger, and some have options to purchase higher-end chargers. Either way, you should purchase or install a 240-volt plug with at least a 30AMP circuit with your solar system. The higher the amps of the charger the faster you will be able to charge your car.

Most home chargers require 30-40AMPs but some will require 50-80AMPs. These plugs will give you added flexibility in charging your EV but they do also add to your Solar PV costs and can range anywhere from $1,000 to $3,500.

Adding A Home Battery System

Adding a battery to your Solar PV system will add resiliency to your home and allow you to continue to have power even if the grid fails. With this power, you can operate your home and even charge your car in power outages.  Batteries are still a significant investment but you are adding significant safety features to your home.  Batteries are eligible for the federal tax credit as long as they are charged with your solar system. We recommend customers consider batteries if they lose power often or want to ensure they keep the power on even during a power outage. In cases where you do need to charge your EV with your home battery, we recommend you slowly charge your electric car. This will allow you to conserve your stored energy and give your Solar PV system time to recharge the battery.

Selecting IPS For Your Solar Installation

IPS has been in business for over 25 years and is one of the oldest and most trusted solar installers in our markets. We are consultative in our approach so you have the best information to make the best decisions. We offer only the best equipment, and we stand by our warranty and our top-of-the-line workmanship. Call 1-303-443-0115 or email sales@solarips.com for a free consultation.