Washington electricity prices average $0.10/kWh, well below the national average of $0.14/kWh.
Thanks to the Columbia River, Washington leads the nation in generating hydroelectric power- and folk music about hydroelectric power. Commissioned by the Bonneville Power Administration, in 1941 Woody Guthrie toured the Pacific Northwest and in a single month wrote twenty six songs about the construction of public works along the region's rivers. Many of the songs featured in the documentary Columbia. The most popular of these songs, "Roll On Columbia," became Washington's official state folk song in 1987.
Most solar in Washington comes from rooftops. The state didn't have a utility-scale solar PV project until 2018. The state's Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) does not mention a solar carve out. On the bright side, in 2019 Washington reinstated a total sales tax exemption on equipment, services , and labor and related to home PV installations of up to 10kW.
The average cost of a 5kW (equivalent to saving almost 100 trees a year) solar power system starts around $19,000 in Washington. Before any incentives, in the first year you’d save about $500, compared to if you had been paying the normal rates for the energy you used. These savings can continue for well over 25 years, improving with inflation.
This depends on may factors such as your system size, power output, and financing. Here are the main ways you can finance your home solar power system, and the kinds of returns you may expect to see:
From our example above, the homeowner purchased a 5kW system to offset their energy bill. Overhead cost was $19,000, with a significant proportion returned in the first year through incentives, rebates, and savings, then paying itself in full over 16 years.
Most solar power systems have a warranty lifetime of 25 years. In that time, between incentives and paying lower rates you could make a profit of around $9,000 - in addition to improving the value of your home by around $9,500.
Even with occasional maintenance or part replacement, that is a massive savings. Solar panel power output falls on average 0.8% per year, so with a little TLC and load management you can extend the life of your system well beyond the warranty’s expiration date, continuing to save indefinitely.
Whether or not you can afford the up-front cost of the install, you may want to consider a Home Equity Line of Credit (HELOC). With equity in your home, or good credit, you may qualify for a 15-year solar HELOC with fixed rate of 4% or lower.
Starting with that same 5kW system costing $19,000 but with zero up-front cost, accounting for incentives, credits, rebates, and annual energy savings starting around $500, you could see a revenue surplus of about $5,000 at the end of the first year.
Save that money though. Your loan payments will likely exceed your power savings during the 15-year term. Once the loan is paid off, you can expect to save about $800 a year. Over 25 years you could expect to make about $1,000, in addition to improving the value of your home by around $9,500.
Washington does not allow Power Purchase Agreements.
Data from DSIRE. For more info visit: https://www.dsireusa.org/
|Name||Implementing Sector||Program Type||Administrator||DSIRE ID|
|Solar Easements & Rights Laws||State||Solar/Wind Access Policy||14|
|Biodiesel and Ethanol Sales and Use Tax Deferrals||State||Industry Recruitment/Support||962|
|Biodiesel, Biodiesel Feedstock, and Alcohol Fuel Production Property and Leasehold Tax Exemption||State||Property Tax Incentive||Washington State Department of Revenue||985|
|Appliance and Equipment Energy Efficiency Standards||State||Appliance/Equipment Efficiency Standards||1584|
|Wa Energy Program - State tax rebate program||Local||Grant Program||Washington State Department of Community Trade and Economic Development||2379|
|WSU Extension Energy Program - Manufacturing Efficiency Program||State||Grant Program||Washington State University Extension Energy Program||2917|
|City of Bainbridge Island - (Re)Power Bainbridge Rebate Program||Local||Rebate Program||5292|
|Puget Sound Energy - Multi-Family Efficiency New Construction Grant Program||Utility||Rebate Program||5451|
|Seattle HomeWise: Weatherization||Local||Grant Program||Seattle Office of Housing||5622|
|Residential Solar Permit Requirements||State||Solar/Wind Permitting Standards||5646|
|Lewis County PUD - Residential Energy Efficiency Rebate Program||Utility||Rebate Program||5759|
|EPUD - Solar Electric Program||Utility||Rebate Program||5761|
|Lewis County PUD Residential New Home Rebate Program||State||Rebate Program||5765|
|Lewis County Residential Energy Efficiency Loan Program||Utility||Loan Program||5772|
|EnergySpark Home Loan||State||Loan Program||5800|
|Lewis County PUD - Loans for Energy Efficiency Program||Utility||Loan Program||5804|
|WSHFC Sustainable Energy Program||State||Loan Program||5840|
|PGE Renewable Development Fund||Utility||Grant Program||5870|
|Avista Utilities (Electric) - Commercial Energy Efficiency Incentives Program||Utility||Rebate Program||Avista Utilities||5946|
|Lewis County PUD - Commercial and Industrial Programs||Utility||Energy Analysis||Lewis County PUD||14804|
|Northwest Public Power Association - Training and Education||Other||Training and Information||Northwest Public Power Association||14807|
|Seattle City Light - Facility Assessment||Utility||Energy Analysis||Seattle City Light||14846|
|Lighting Design Lab - Energy Efficiency Education and Assistance||Other||Energy Analysis||Lighting Design Lab||14849|
|Seattle City Light - New Construction Program||Utility||Energy Analysis||Seattle City Light||14850|
|Snohomish County PUD No 1 - PowerTrend 2.0||Other||Energy Analysis||Snohomish County PUD No 1||14859|
|Tacoma Public Utilities - Walk-Through Energy Audit||Utility||Energy Analysis||Tacoma Public Utilities||16166|
|Washington State University Energy Program - Industrial Training Programs||Other||Training and Information||Washington State University Energy Program||16169|
|Pacific County PUD - Pacific County Rebate Incentives||Utility||Energy Analysis||Pacific County PUD||16739|
|Lakeview Light and Power - Rebates||Utility||Energy Analysis||17510|
|Tacoma Public Utilities - Energy Bill Profile||Utility||Energy Analysis||Tacoma Public Utilities||18156|
|Puget Sound Energy - Savings and Energy Center||Utility||Energy Analysis||Puget Sound Energy||18915|
|Cowlitz County PUD - Net Metering||Other||Other||Cowlitz County PUD||19171|
|Tanner Electric Cooperative - Green Power Options||Utility||Other||Tanner Electric Cooperative||19220|
|Peninsula Light Company - Green Power||Utility||Other||Peninsula Light Company||19222|
|Big Bend Electric Cooperative - Net Metering||Utility||Other||Big Bend Electric Cooperative||19431|
|Blaine City Light Dept. - Net Metering||Other||Other||Blaine City Light Dept.||19432|
|Centralia Light Dept. - Net Metering||Other||Other||Centralia Light Dept.||19436|
|Parkland Light & Water Co. - Net Metering||Other||Other||Parkland Light & Water Co.||19447|
|PUD No. 1 of Douglas County - Net Metering||Other||Other||PUD No. 1 of Douglas County||19524|
|PUD No. 1 of Skamania County - Net Metering||Other||Other||PUD No. 1 of Skamania County||19527|
|Klickitat PUD - Net Metering||Utility||Other||Klickitat PUD||19533|
|Benton PUD - Green Power Program||Utility||Other||Benton PUD||19534|
|Pacific County PUD - Green Power||Utility||Other||Pacific County PUD||19535|
|Columbia Rural Electric Association - Net Metering||Other||Other||Columbia Rural Electric Association||19621|
|Mason County PUD 3 - Commercial Lighting Audits||Utility||Energy Analysis||Mason County PUD 3||20271|
|Energy Northwest - Commercial Energy Calculator||Other||Energy Analysis||Energy Northwest||20351|
|Energy Northwest - E+ for Commercial Customers||Other||Energy Analysis||Energy Northwest||20352|
|Snohomish County PUD No 1 - Business Energy Savers||Other||Energy Analysis||Snohomish County PUD No 1||20392|
|Avista Utilities - Site-Specific Energy Efficiency Incentives||Other||Energy Analysis||Avista Utilities||21657|
|Avista Utilities - Workshops and webinars||Other||Energy Analysis||Avista Utilities||21689|
|Avista Utilities - Energy Smart Grocer Program||Other||Energy Analysis||Avista Utilities||21705|
|BetterBricks - Integrated Design Lab||Other||Energy Analysis||Northwest Energy Efficiency Alliance (NEEA)||21726|
|Northwest Energy Efficiency Alliance - Energy Training Calendar||Other||Training and Information||Northwest Energy Efficiency Alliance||21727|
|Northwest Water & Energy Education Institute - Energy Certification Programs||Other||Training and Information||Northwest Water & Energy Education Institute||21728|
|Northwest Water & Energy Education Institute - Energy Management Certificate||Other||Training and Information||Northwest Water & Energy Education Institute||21729|