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Washington solar 101: must read before you buy solar panels

Washington State 41 solar panels available

  • $0.59/W Average gross price of a solar power system as of October 2022
  • 3 years Average system payback period
  • 46 092 / year Average savings from going solar in Washington
  • 3 ¢ / kWh Levelized cost of solar energy
  • 6.21 kW Recommended system size

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Solar panels in Washington

Washington #27 in the US
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What our happy customers say

Hi all, i wanted to share my experience of buying from a1solar. I needed panels for my yacht. I wanted to have only 3, but they have a minimum order size for delivery so I opted for pickup. It was good. It went smoothly. I appreciate the split payment that they offer. I basically went to the center, grabbed the panels, loaded ‘em in the truck and drove them home (gotta do it carefully though!). Nice guys too. peace, Carl
Caarl Arlac
Via Trustpilot
Oct 2, 2022
I did business with A1 about half a year ago (it’s september 22 atm) when I needed panels for my home in Phoenix. I took Panasonic, if anyone’s wondering. The system’s doing great, and I think I got really lucky with my installer and the shop as well. If I recall correctly, my order was indeed processed in 24h as promised, delivery took a bit longer than expected but it wasn’t a big deal, these were busy days for fedex. panels were in good shape. I myself checked them thoroughly.
Ryden R
Via Trustpilot
Sep 25, 2022
I like this company. Good service 👍
Daiga Ellaby
Via Google
Sep 19, 2022
i read too much about the broken panels and decided to go with the pickup option. Loved the experience overall. One of their centers was nearby, so I ordered some q cells for myself and drove there. They explained in detail how to drive the package home safely so I was really careful and yeah, now they are in my garage, waiting to be installed. Can’t really complain about anything, panels are fine, the service was cool, and the delivery was on me lol
loken
Via Trustpilot
Sep 19, 2022
So I did order a system, and everything arrived on time, and yes, one panel was broken. But you know what? I’m still going to give them 5 stars. Because 1) they warned me about the possibility of this happening and told me what to do in this case; 2) when I contacted them about it, they handled the situation professionally. I sent them all that they asked for and got a replacement relatively quickly. If it’s anyone’s fault that panels break, then it is the carrier's one. My impression: good service, great prices, commendable customer support.
Will Ghost
Via Trustpilot
Sep 14, 2022
I needed just a couple of panels for the boat, but the staff treated me like I was buying the whole warehouse. I decided to pick the order up myself, their center was within reach. Getting my panels and a Magnum inverter was easier than going for groceries. There is a lot of hard work behind this simplicity. This I know from experience
Filip Scot
Via Trustpilot
Sep 11, 2022

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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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