With retail solar panel prices hovering around $5/watt, Colorado residents can use their $3.50/watt Xcel Rebate coupled with the 30% federal rebate to effectively pay $0.00/watt in panel costs. Panel prices have fallen faster than the Rebates and you get a huge discount by buying now, before the Rebate is lowered to 2.50 or 3.00/watt.
There is a debate if the federal rebate includes the full retail price of the panels or the price after the state rebate has been subtracted. I think it is likely the IRS will apply the credit to the post Xcel Rebate, leaving consumers with an actual cost of $1.00/watt. Depending on how much of a Do it Yourself’er you are, there will still be $2-3,000.00 in labor to mount and wire a PV array into your home system.
Either way, it’s getting affordable. Colorado currently does not require any certification to install solar panels. Research your installer.