As a state with more than 300 days of sunshine a year, Colorado is a prime location for solar energy.
The state has landed in most top 10 lists regarding solar, from most solar installed per capita to greatest solar job growth.
Colorado has one of the nation’s strongest renewable portfolio standards (RPSs), which requires investor-owned utilities to source 30 percent of their energy from renewable energy by 2020. The RPS also requires IOU utilities, and to a lesser extent rural and municipal utilities to source a certain amount of their power from distributed generation sources like homes and small businesses.
A growing number of homeowners in the state are choosing to install systems on their homes with no up-front costs through power-purchase agreements or leases. Regardless of their choice there are plenty of qualified solar installers in the state that can explain options and costs prior to installing a system.
Colorado is home to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, several small, medium and growing solar manufacturing companies and solar training centers.
All this has culminated in a rich environment for solar thermal and photovoltaic installations throughout the state. As the price of photovoltaics has dropped and solar has become more popular, the incentive programs offered by utilities like Xcel Energy have decreased. But Colorado also is the hotbed for a new type of solar array, the community solar garden, through which residents can buy a part of a local solar array and use that to offset their electricity costs.
In addition to the utility incentive programs offered in Colorado, the state offers property- and sales-tax exemptions. Combined with federal incentive programs there are plenty of options to save on the cost of your solar equipment and installation.
The has employed an aggressive strategy for reducing the "soft" costs of solar that result from cumbersome permitting processes. Colorado's Solar Friendly Communities is an offshoot of the national Sunshot Initiative that has resulted in several municipalities and county governments developing streamlined application and approval processes. Colorado easily has some of the strongest support in the nation for renewable energy.