State solar incentives

Solar incentives in Washington: Overview

Solar panels tend to pay for themselves in 7-8 years across the US. Even in cloudy Washington, they are a profitable investment. Especially when you make use of solar incentives in Washington.

Save 30% of your PV system cost with Federal Solar Tax Credit

The US government wants more people to go solar: it’s a modern and green way of getting energy. This is why the Solar Investment Tax Credit (ITC) program was developed. It allows American citizens to claim 30% of the cost of their installation as an income tax deduction. The cost here is not only solar panels, but also shipping, installation expenses and more. For example, if your system overall made you spend $10,000, the government returns you $3,000. To claim the ITC, complete all the necessary forms and submit them when filing your taxes.

Join net metering program to cover your electric bills

Net metering is the main way in which a solar system pays for itself in the US. The idea is always the same: you sell your excess solar energy into the commercial grid, gain credits and use them to cover your next electric bill.

All municipal utilities and electric cooperatives in Washington have to offer net metering to customers with solar systems that are up to 100kW in size. Net excess generation (NEG) is credited to your electric bills at the utility retail rate. Any unused NEG is surrendered to the utility every April 30 with no compensation. The only exception is Grays Harbor PUD which reimburses NEG of its customers at 50% of the utility's retail rate by the end of the year. Renewable energy credits that you get remain yours. Consult with your utility company about the rates and conditions of net metering.

Save up to $2,000 a year trading SRECs

For generating clean electricity, any person can get Solar Renewable Energy Certificates (SRECs). Unlike with net metering, you don’t need to sell any electricity to get credits – the certificates are simply given to you. One SREC is granted for 1 Megawatt-hour of generated power. A 5kW system can generate over 7 Megawatt-hours over the year, so in theory it’s possible to get 5-7 SRECs in 12 months if you send all your energy into the grid.

You can choose to store or sell these certificates using the WREGIS platform. In Washington, Renewable Energy Certificates are bankable for 12 months and can be used by utilities for the prior year's compliance. The value of SRECs is always changing, which makes them similar to stock market assets. In Washington the cost of a SREC can be quite high: around $350. Overall, selling SRECs could bring you from $350 to $2,000 annually for a 5kW system. To participate, register your system at the WREGIS website.

Solar easements help settle the debates with neighbors

To make sure that your panels get enough sunlight and won't be overshadowed by, say, trees on your neighbors’ land, you can create a solar easement. All the conditions of an easement you have to negotiate with your neighbors yourself. The easement should be written down and recorded in the county’s register of deeds. In Washington, solar law also restricts homeowners associations from prohibiting the installation of panels. They can, however, release guidelines related to the aesthetic appearance and visibility of panels.

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Looking to build a home solar system? Check out solar panels that we have for sale in Washington


Years of experience in translation and a love of nature help Julia find the right words to encourage going solar. She joined the team in 2023 and is happy to make her contribution to a greener future.

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