What Should You Pay For Solar In Washington?

Find Out For Your Home Based On Recent Installations In Your ZIP

Solar power in Washington

Last fact checked on June 26, 2019 by Catherine Lane

While Washington may have less-than-average sun exposure and cheap electric rates, the combination of full retail net metering and the 30% federal tax credit make going solar in the Evergreen State a terrific investment.

Washington’s successful renewable energy system incentive program recently met its cap and is no longer accepting applications. This may cause a bit of a blow to the solar industry, as the incentive program promoted the installation of 42.7 megawatts (MW) of residential-scale solar projects. 

Although this incentive is no longer available, it just goes to show that the sooner you install solar in Washington, the more savings you may be eligible for. Don’t wait for time to run out on the incentives that are available, take advantage of them while you can!


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Solar power in Washington

Washington solar power facts


Average cost of a 5kw solar power system in 2020
Price shown before incentives

17 Years 7 Months

Average payback time


Average lifetime savings
Price shown after repayments of capital


levelized cost of solar energy


If you don't get solar
The forecast average utility price over the next 25 years


Annual power production

Cash flow graph based on cash purchase of a 32.31kW system

This 32.31kW system would offset 100% of your energy usage if your typical monthly bill in Washington is $183, however your situation may vary so try our solar calculator to get a result tailored to you.

Solar companies in Washington that provide pricing through the Solar-Estimate marketplace


Best solar offers currently available in Washington

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Compare solar quotes from the top solar companies in Washington

How much do solar panels cost in Washington

$2.62 per watt

Cash purchased solar system
Before 26% solar tax credit

$3.89 per watt

Financed solar system
Before 26% solar tax credit

15.7¢ cents/kWh

Av. 15 year term, 2.5% price escalator

What are the pros and cons of buying solar panels for your home in Washington

The advantage of installing solar panels in Washington is the state-mandated net metering law, which is key to making solar a worthwhile investment. Couple that with the federal tax credit and you have the potential for great savings.

SolarPowerRocks provides a great breakdown of solar incentives and policy for each state within the US.

The main disadvantage of installing solar panels for your home in Washington is that there is less overall sunshine in the state per year, on average. This means a solar system produces less here than it would in sunnier states, such as Arizona. Also, the cost of grid power is cheap in Washington so you get less money back for excess generation than you might in a state with higher electricity prices. 

Despite these, there are still ways to save on a solar system that make going solar in Washington an excellent choice.

Enter your details to calculate the potential costs and savings you can receive from installing solar panels for your home. 

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Best brands of solar panels

To find the best brands of solar panels you can use America's most trusted solar panel comparison and reviews website, SolarReviews.

However, reviews of solar panels can be a bit meaningless because most consumer owners have not had any issues and so while solar company reviews are very important when choosing solar installers they are of less use when choosing solar panels.

For more information to help you make an informed decision about this topic, I would recommend this article about buying solar panels.


Unlock live pricing on the best solar panel brands!


How much electricity will solar panels produce in Washington

Solar panels produce different amounts of energy in different locations.

Around the Seattle area solar panels installed on a south facing 30 degree pitch roof will typically produce:

1,087kWh per year per 1kw of peak DC (direct current) capacity

For more information about how your location, roof direction and roof tilt affects solar power production use the solar panels calculator and enter your zipcode below.


See how much electricity your solar panels could produce

I want to buy a solar panel kit and install it myself

What rebates, solar tax credits, and other solar incentives are available in Washington?

Net metering in Washington

Solar, by its nature, generates the most power during the middle of the day when most people are at work or school and little power is being used in the home. Net metering policy in Washington mandates that for every surplus kilowatt hour (kWh) generated by solar, like the excess energy your system creates during the day, utilities must provide a credit for a kWh of energy purchased from the grid at another time.

For example, if your solar system produces 5kWh of energy between noon and 1:00 PM and your home only uses 3 kWh in that hour, you would receive a credit for 2kWh of energy. So, if later that day you use 6kWh of energy, you will only be charged for 4kWh because of your credit. 

However, any excess credits you have at the end of the annual billing period expire and are returned to the utility without compensation. 



Sales and use tax exemption

Starting July 1, 2019, all solar machinery and equipment used to generate up to 100 kW of energy will be exempt from Washington’s sales and use tax. Also, all labor charges for qualified solar equipment installations will not have sales and use tax added. 

This exemption is only valid until December 31, 2029, so it is important to take advantage of this while you can!



Chelan County Sustainable Natural Alternative Power program

If you are a customer of Chelan County Public Utility District, you can take advantage of the unique Sustainable Natural Alternative Power (SNAP) program. Through this program, SNAP customers can voluntarily pay a little extra on their utility bill each month that the utility collects and distributes to solar producers once a year.

You can register to be a SNAP producer to receive the incentive. The amount of the incentive a SNAP producer receives is based on how much SNAP customers contribute and how much total energy is created by SNAP producers. 

For example, if SNAP customers contribute $20,000 and you, as a SNAP producer, generate 1% of the total power produced in the program, you will receive an incentive of $200 (1%*$20,000 = $200).

Washington Solar Calculator

Regardless of what you want to know about the economics of installing solar panels for your home or business in Washington we have a solar calculator that can show you exactly the information your require.



What you can find out about installing solar panels in Washington using our full monthly solar calculator

This solar calculator requires you to input your address, utility company, your average monthly power spend - It tells you:

If you want to see all of the above but also see live pricing, the three best solar deals available in your city and get binding quotes from each of these solar companies then use this Washington solar panels calculator. This calculator requires you to also input your name and contact details because most of our 200+ installer partners will only authorize the sharing of their live solar pricing where we have validated that you are a real homeowner with a home in their service area. We respect the privacy of your data and only share your contact details with the solar companies you ask us to get binding quotes from.


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Solar calculator

Going solar in Washington

Check out all of the ways energy providers of Washington can help you be more energy efficient and save money.

The following programs are available:
Incentive Name Eligibility Type
Residential Renewable Energy Tax Credit Federal Personal Tax Credit
Renewable Energy Sales and Use Tax Exemption State Sales Tax Incentive
Net Metering State Net Metering
Clark Public Utility Solar Loan Program Utility Loan Program
Chelan County Sustainable Natural Alternative Power Program Utility Performance-Based Incentive
Find your local rebates and incentives

Your city may have further incentives to offer. Please keep in mind that the best source of up-to-date information on incentives are the solar installers who specialize in your area.