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Washington solar 101: must read before you buy solar panels

Washington State 17 solar panels available

  • $0.47/W Average gross price of a solar power system as of May 2022
  • 2 years Average system payback period
  • 46 705 / year Average savings from going solar in Washington
  • 3 ¢ / kWh Levelized cost of solar energy
  • 6.21 kW Recommended system size

Benefit from a PV system
in Washington

Solar panels in Washington

Washington #27 in the US
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What our happy customers say

The website UI is really intuitive and I figured out what I want pretty quickly. Went for Canadian Solar panels plus a solaredge inverter. I went to their fulfillment center to grab my order, and they were very quick to bring it out. The staff really made sure to warn me that panels are fragile and I appreciate that. Drove the package home safely, unpacked, all good. Right now we’re in the middle of the installation process, they sent a letter asking how I’m doing and asked for a review. Here I am! The panels are nice and it was a pleasure doing business with you.
Lime
Via Trustpilot
Apr 7, 2022
Fantastic company. Everything went smooth and the shipped was fast. The customer service was great.
Joe M.
Via Trustpilot
Apr 5, 2022
So I’m from LA and everybody’s going solar here so though that I should too. But I was really afraid it would be too much of a hassle. Eventually i went on google and soon found a1store. They got a pretty website and lots of articles on solar, and I flicked through a couple. So I decided to contact them, they were very friendly and we scheduled a call with their engineer. He was very patient with me and explained all the basics that I needed to know.

So i made an order, one of their centers is nearby, so i ordered pickup. I drove there, and they warned me to drive the panels carefully and pack them well for the road. seems like it's a recurring thing that people break their panels on the way home. I was real careful and yeah, I got home safely. Panels are in my garage now. I already found the installer. we have to take care of some papers and then it’s on!
Jerry Burton
Via Trustpilot
Mar 23, 2022
Great selection of high quality solar panels, good pricing, fast shipping, everything arrived in great condition.
Paul
Via Trustpilot
Mar 8, 2022
I ordered some solar panels. The top 4 ones were damaged during delivery (A1 had emailed me in advance what to check for before I took delivery which I followed even though the truck driver was pushing not to inspect them as thouroughly) and A1 replaced them in a timely manner and kept me informed. The price on the panels were some of the best on the internet (delivered). I would buy from them again.
Robert Broughton
Via Google
Nov 27, 2021
I ordered some solar panels but during delivery, the top 4 were broken by the shipping department.

A1 replaced them and kept me informed when the replacements would be in. I would buy from them again.
Robert Broughton
Via Trustpilot
Nov 27, 2021

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Solar laws, incentives and rebates in Washington you need to know

Save 26% of your PV system cost with Federal Solar Tax Credit

The main solar incentive that works across all United States is the Solar Investment Tax Credit (ITC) program. By applying to this program, all Americans can deduct 26% of the total cost of their installation from the income tax. The PV system cost doesn’t amount to only how much you’ve spent on your solar panels, but includes the shipping and installation as well. To claim the ITC, complete all the necessary forms and submit them when filing your taxes. It makes sense to hurry up: in 2023 the Tax credit decreases to 22% and after that it’s 10% for commercial systems only

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 100 kW 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 additional $350 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 MW of power. A 5kW system can generate over 7 MW 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 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.

Clark Public Utilities help financing solar projects of their customers

Clark Public Utilities issues loans for solar projects for up to 7 years. The maximum size of the loan is $30,000 with an interest rate of 3.5%. Loans under $10,000 must be repaid in 5 years or less with a minimum $25 monthly payment. The processing fee is $230 for loans under $5,000 and $450 otherwise. Find the list of conditions and apply here.

Solar systems are eligible for sales and use tax exemption

This Washington solar incentive benefits installers and buyers of solar systems. Solar panels and equipment get full sales and use tax exemption if:

  • System is bigger than 1 kW, but smaller than 100 kW
  • Equipment is purchased after Jul 1, 2019, but before December 31, 2029

To report the exemption, the buyer must provide their seller and installer with a Retail Sales Tax Exemption Certificate. They have to keep it in their records for 5 years. If the tax was charged, it is possible to apply for a refund later. For more information visit Washington Department of revenue website and read the guide.

Ask your utility about WSU energy program

In 2006, a Renewable Energy System Incentive Program started in Washington. The idea was simple: utilities give incentives to their customers with solar installations and earn a tax credit equal to the cost of those payments. The size of an incentive ranges from $0.02/kWh to $0.12/kWh with a $5,000 per year cap for residential clients and $25,000 per year for commercial solar systems in Washington. The program hasn’t ended officially, but since then some utilities have withdrawn from the program and the last time the program website was updated was in 2019. Nevertheless, it makes sense to inquire of your utility if this incentive is still available.

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 aesthetic appearance and visibility of panels.

Get a permit and install your solar panels in Washington with no worries

Generally, in the US you would need a solar permit from your local authorities to install a solar system. Requirements, however, vary in different cities and counties. For example, in Seattle you always need an electric permit and a building permit in some cases. Seattle officials have put out a guide on solar installation that gives an idea of what you can expect. Usually your installer knows all the details about permits in your area and handles most of the process. After the permit is obtained, it is legal to install solar panels on your house in Washington. Be aware that city or county officials can impose additional fees on you for inspections and documents.

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