In Colorado’s increasingly hail-heavy climate, new high-resistance roof tiles can help save your home. And while rooftop solar power is always a good energy investment, experts also suggest you act fast to cash in solar tax subsidies, before they fade.
In recent years, we’ve certainly seen the destructive power of Mother Nature at work in the Colorado Front Range, as hail storms have impacted nearly every community.
For homeowners looking to protect themselves from further damage – as well as those interested in finally making the leap to rooftop solar panels to help cut their utility costs by investing in renewable energy – local roofing experts have some timely advice on both issues that can help cut costs in the long run.
Scott Brasington, owner of Longmont’s GreenPoint Roofing, says Colorado currently ranks second in the nation behind Texas for the severity and cost of hail damage claims. Based on the severity of storms over the last few years, and the duration of the hail season, he recommends a variety of new, impact-resistant roof tiles, including those rated at Level 4 for their strength.
“That includes our new F-Weight shingles, which are a synthetic product injected with thermal plastic that stands up to hail – look on YouTube for the video of an ice cannon being shot at them – to our Colorado-made Owens Corning Flex tiles, which are rubberized, more pliable and more resistant to hail, with a protective matting on the back,”
Brasington also sells and installs products from the Malarkey company, which integrate recycled materials into their polymer- and rubber-modified shingles, as well as the super-resistant Decra, a stone-coated metal roofing system which uses interlocking panels to create a look like tile or wood shake.
Adam Kenyon, who operates GreenPoint’s solar partner, ProGreen Solar, says that while solar is always a good investment, especially in sunny Colorado, consumers may be motivated by changing federal subsidies that can help more quickly pay for their investment.
“Initially, there was a 30 percent tax incentive, which is now 26 percent, but that is going to drop to 20 percent in 2020, and will drop to zero percent by 2022,” he says.
“In the case of a $30,000 system, that is going to have some long-term impact on affordability.”
That said, Kenyon explains that new-generation solar systems are expected to provide efficient operation with little degradation over a 25-year life cycle, offering homeowners vastly lower utility bills and even the opportunity to generate power credits from utilities such as Xcel Energy.
Before considering a rooftop solar project, Kenyon works with customers to review their current energy usage and bills, as well as any future increases in costs they foresee – hot tubs, extensive air conditioning use, or some who hope to add a small solar farm to their property. On average, he says up-front construction costs about $15,000 to $20,000, though current federal credits can take a big chunk out of the price.
Another Front Range provider for solar upgrades, servicing and consultation is Denver’s Southard Solar Energy and Construction, which has been in business since 1987. Southard is a certified installer and has worked on solar projects on more than 500 Colorado homes, in both urban and off-the-grid settings. They also have expertise in mobile solar power trailer units and can remove or replace outdated or inefficient early-generation solar panels.
By Andy Stonehouse