Going solar in Washington

In Washington, an average home needs a 9kW solar system in order cover most of their electricity needs. Given the average residential price-per-watt of $3.59 in Washington, a 9kW system can cost around $32,310 depending on applicable rebates and other factors.

Select your county by clicking on the map and see the potential generated solar power and panel pricing. See how it compares with the US state average.

Average out-of-pocket cost for a 5 kW system The upfront amount spent to buy and install solar.
Washington: $17,950US Average: $19,594
Average Payback Period The number of years until you break even on the solar investment.
Washington: 15 yearsUS Average: 13 years
Average Net 20-year savings The total amount of money saved over 20 years minus the out-of-pocket cost.
Washington: $6,306US Average: $10,133

Solar Potential in Washington

Estimated system size and solar electricity production per median viable roof in
Washington.

Roof size 813sq. ft.
Capacity 11.38kW DC
Electricity 11.9kkWh AC per yr.

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Compare solar panels by system size in Washington

Get the most value out of your roof by comparing the different benefits a given system size has.

System Size 5kW
Roof Size Min. space required
358 ft²
Electricity Value Annual Production $736 a year
Est. Price
$17,950
Savings from a 5kWthis system
  • Est. yearly production 7,250 kWh
  • Est. monthly savings $61
  • Full payback in 24 years
Environmental Impacts
  • Reduces CO2 emissions by 0.69 tons a year
  • Equivalent to planting 32 trees a year
  • Equivalent to driving 1,709 mi less a year
System Size 6kW
Roof Size Min. space required
429 ft²
Electricity Value Annual Production $883 a year
Est. Price
$21,540
Savings from a 6kWthis system
  • Est. yearly production 8,700 kWh
  • Est. monthly savings $74
  • Full payback in 24 years
Environmental Impacts
  • Reduces CO2 emissions by 0.83 tons a year
  • Equivalent to planting 38 trees a year
  • Equivalent to driving 2,050 mi less a year
System Size 7kW
Roof Size Min. space required
501 ft²
Electricity Value Annual Production $1,030 a year
Est. Price
$25,130
Savings from a 7kWthis system
  • Est. yearly production 10,150 kWh
  • Est. monthly savings $86
  • Full payback in 24 years
Environmental Impacts
  • Reduces CO2 emissions by 0.97 tons a year
  • Equivalent to planting 44 trees a year
  • Equivalent to driving 2,392 mi less a year
System Size 8kW
Roof Size Min. space required
572 ft²
Electricity Value Annual Production $1,178 a year
Est. Price
$28,720
Savings from a 8kWthis system
  • Est. yearly production 11,600 kWh
  • Est. monthly savings $98
  • Full payback in 24 years
Environmental Impacts
  • Reduces CO2 emissions by 1.1 tons a year
  • Equivalent to planting 51 trees a year
  • Equivalent to driving 2,734 mi less a year
System Size 9kW
Roof Size Min. space required
644 ft²
Electricity Value Annual Production $1,325 a year
Est. Price
$32,310
Savings from a 9kWthis system
  • Est. yearly production 13,050 kWh
  • Est. monthly savings $101
  • Full payback in 27 years
Environmental Impacts
  • Reduces CO2 emissions by 1.14 tons a year
  • Equivalent to planting 52 trees a year
  • Equivalent to driving 2,813 mi less a year

Washington solar incentives, tax credit, and rebates

Washington has 15 rebates and tax credits that you may be eligable for. Visit the official links for more details to see if you apply.

Solar incentives in WA

Renewable Energy Sales and Use Tax Exemption

Value:Varies

Most renewable energy systems in Washington state are at least partially exempt from sales/use tax. Qualifying technologies include solar, wind, some biomass, hydroelectric, geothermal, landfill gas, and hog fuel (wood-burning.) Total exemptions are available for hog fuel systems and solar devices rated for less than 10 kW. Other systems will receive a 75% exemption applied at the time of purchase. Exemption certificates are available from the Department of Revenue and must be presented to the equipment dealer.

Renewable Energy Standard

Value:Varies

Washington first established a renewable portfolio standard in 2006 upon the passage of a statewide referendum. The most recent standard goals required at least 15% of each utility's retail electricity to be generated using renewable technology by 2020. Compliance with the standard is measured using a Renewable Energy Credit system pegging one megawatt hour of electricity to a variable dollar amount. Utilities may generate credits using their own renewable facilities or purchase them from customers through tariff programs. Should a utility fail to meet its standard quota, it will be fined for each credit it is deficient. Utilities are exempt from the standard if they do not have load growth or if renewable energy investment would not be cost-effective.

Interconnection Standards

Value:Varies

Distributed generation and interconnection practices in Washington state have been standardized since 2007. All private utilities are subject to the standards; local public utilities and cooperatives are exempt. Each new renewable energy system to be interconnected will be assigned one of three regulatory Tiers. A system's Tier determines the IEEE/UL/NEC standards it must follow and the rigor of the permit process, including application fees and turnaround times. Tier 1 ends at 25 kW, while Tier 2 ends at 500 kW. External disconnect switches are required for systems at or above Tier 2. Utilities may require customers to carry liability insurance or a minimum warranty for their system.

Green Building and Energy Reduction Standards for State Agencies

Value:Varies

Since 2005, new state buildings and public remodeling projects in Washington state have been required to follow certain green building standards. Any new occupied public building at least 25,000 square feet in size must meet the requirements for LEED Silver certification and pursue formal accreditation from the US Green Building Council. Remodeling projects should incorporate as many LEED principles as possible, though they are not required to pursue formal certification. Additional information is available from the Washington Department of Enterprise Services.

Clark Public Utilities - Solar Energy Equipment Loan

Value:Varies

Residential customers of Clark Public Utilities may be eligible for special loans to fund new solar energy systems and components. The maximum available principal per loan is $30,000 at 3.5% APR. The principal determines both repayment period duration and the applicable fees and conditions. Additional information is available from the CPU website.

Grays Harbor PUD - Net Metering

Value:Varies

The Grays Harbor Public Utility District operates a unique net metering program. Credits for net excess generation are awarded at the end of each year and amount to half of the normal retail price. While the Grays Harbor program technically does not follow the letter of the state's net metering laws, customers may earn additional benefits and have a greater incentive to adopt renewable energy. Additional information is available through the utility website.

Seattle City - Solar Permit Requirements

Value:Varies

Seattle's zoning laws and local ordinances contain special provisions and accommodations for solar energy within city limits. All new solar projects are required to obtain electrical permits, but may not need building permits if the total system weight is less than 1,000 pounds or the system does not require alterations/stand-alone structure of more than $4,000. Setback requirements prohibit systems from being located in a front yard. However, solar panels may extend up to four feet from the normal height limit for the zone. A central guide is available from the city website detailing all applicable regulations and process flows.

WSHFC Sustainable Energy Program

Value:Varies

The Sustainable Energy Program/Trust is a division of the Washington State Housing Finance Commission. Residents and businesses undertaking new green construction or making energy efficiency improvements may be eligible for at least $50,000 of special financing. Interest rates of 2 - 4% are available. To qualify, a project should improve the site or entity's energy efficiency by at least 10%. Standard engineering reviews and pre/post-work energy audits apply. Additional information is available from the WSHFC website.

Evergreen Sustainable Development Standard for Affordable Housing

Value:Varies

The Evergreen Sustainable Development Standard is Washington's green building rubric tailored for new affordable housing. Standards are based on LEED and incur points for compliance. Small energy efficiency practices can earn 1 point, using renewable energy (such as solar PV) can earn five points, and exceeding the total standard will earn 15 points. New affordable housing projects should earn at least 50 points; remodeling projects should earn at least 40 points. Additional information and a copy of the standard are available from the Washington State Department of Commerce.

Renewable Energy Manufacturing Program

Value:Varies

The Sustainable Energy Program/Trust is a division of the Washington State Housing Finance Commission. Residents and businesses undertaking new green construction or making energy efficiency improvements may be eligible for at least $50,000 of special financing. Interest rates of 2 - 4% are available. To qualify, a project should improve the site or entity's energy efficiency by at least 10%. Standard engineering reviews and pre/post-work energy audits apply. Additional information is available from the WSHFC website.

Mandatory Utility Green Power Option

Value:Varies

Washington state law requires all public or private electrical utilities with a customer base of at least 25,000 to offer green power options. Customers can purchase 100% renewable energy in fixed blocks. This energy may be derived from solar, wind, biomass, hydroelectric, landfill gas, or a combination of these technologies. Each customer will be notified of the green power option on a quarterly basis. Annual reports on program uptake and resources are available from the state legislature.

Tax Abatement for Solar Manufacturers

Value:Varies

In 2005, former Washington governor Christine Gregoire approved a legislative corporate tax cut for the state's solar energy device and component manufacturers. Current tax rates for these companies are at least 43% below the average liability. Tax incentives only apply to businesses producing silicon components, semiconductors, solar cells, converters, and other components directly involved in the production of photovoltaic energy. The special rates expire in 2027. Additional information is available from the Department of Revenue.

Net Metering

Value:Varies

In Washington, any renewable energy system rated for under 100 kW is eligible for net metering. All public/private utilities and cooperatives must offer interconnection and net metering to new renewable energy customers. Upon agreeing to a net metering contract, the energy system's owner will have a bidirectional meter installed to measure net excess generation (NEG) sent back to the grid. Utilities will credit customer bills for NEG at an avoided-cost rate per kilowatt hour. Should generation exceed consumption for any given cycle, NEG credits may roll forward to subsequent months. Additional information is available from the Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission.

Renewable Energy Cost Recovery Incentive Payment

Value:Varies

The Sustainable Energy Program/Trust is a division of the Washington State Housing Finance Commission. Residents and businesses undertaking new green construction or making energy efficiency improvements may be eligible for at least $50,000 of special financing. Interest rates of 2 - 4% are available. To qualify, a project should improve the site or entity's energy efficiency by at least 10%. Standard engineering reviews and pre/post-work energy audits apply. Additional information is available from the WSHFC website.

Energy Efficiency and Solar Grants

Value:Varies

The Sustainable Energy Program/Trust is a division of the Washington State Housing Finance Commission. Residents and businesses undertaking new green construction or making energy efficiency improvements may be eligible for at least $50,000 of special financing. Interest rates of 2 - 4% are available. To qualify, a project should improve the site or entity's energy efficiency by at least 10%. Standard engineering reviews and pre/post-work energy audits apply. Additional information is available from the WSHFC website.

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Frequently Asked Questions

  • As a general rule, unless there are local limitations, the main limitations to the amount of solar panels you can put on your roof are the available space on your roof, your electricity usage, your providers net metering rules, and the limitations of your house hold electrical system.
  • Based on our research the average price per installed watt is $3.59 in Washington. This means for a 10kW system you can expect to pay $35,900 though pricing can vary significantly between installers based on the projects requirements.
  • Based on a Zillow research study from 2019, home with solar panels sell for roughly 4.1% more.
  • To generate the most power, solar panels in the United States should face true south as this generally results in the solar panels receiving the most light each day throughout the course of the year. That said, given that energy prices are often variable throughout the day, your installer may recommend you rotate your panels slightly so that the panels will receive more light at the end of the day when energy prices can be more expensive. That said, for most consumers the positioning of solar panels is highly dependent on your home's roof.
  • Based on our continuously updated database of solar installers, we have found 27 verified solar install companies in Washington

Solar installers in Washington (27)

A&R Solar

Seattle, WA(206) 707-9937

Services

  • Installation of solar arrays.
  • Installation of batteries for energy storage.

Douglass Colony Group

Commerce City, CO(877) 288-0650

Services

  • Installation of solar arrays.
  • Reparation of solar arrays.
  • Expertise in consulting on advantageous financing for solar.

SunVest Solar

Pewaukee, WI(262) 547-1200

Services

  • Installation of solar arrays.
  • Expertise in consulting on advantageous financing for solar.

Solgen Power

Pasco, WA(855) 220-0778

Services

  • Installation of solar arrays.
  • Solar systems for selling electricity back to the grid.
  • Expertise in consulting on advantageous financing for solar.

Elemental Energy

Portland, OR(503) 967-5786

Services

  • Installation of solar arrays.
  • Installation of batteries for energy storage.
  • Solar systems for selling electricity back to the grid.

Whidbey Sun & Wind

Coupeville, WA(360) 678-7131

Services

  • Installation of solar arrays.
  • Monitoring of independent energy generation.
  • Solar systems for selling electricity back to the grid.

Cascadia Solar

Port Townsend, WA(360) 930-6993

Services

  • Installation of solar arrays.
  • Installation of batteries for energy storage.
  • Solar systems for selling electricity back to the grid.

Columbia Basin Solar

Pasco, WA(509) 521-2363

Services

  • Installation of solar arrays.
  • Reparation of solar arrays.
  • Installation of batteries for energy storage.
  • Expertise in consulting on advantageous financing for solar.

Dividend Finance

San Francisco, CA(415) 805-7000

Services

  • Installation of solar arrays.
  • Installation of batteries for energy storage.
  • Expertise in consulting on advantageous financing for solar.

Northwest Renewables

Spokane, WA(509) 443-4526

Services

  • Installation of solar arrays.
  • Installation of batteries for energy storage.
  • Expertise in consulting on advantageous financing for solar.

SunPower Corporation

San Jose, CA(800) 786-7693

Services

  • Installation of solar arrays.
  • Reparation of solar arrays.
  • Installation of batteries for energy storage.
  • Monitoring of independent energy generation.
  • Solar systems for selling electricity back to the grid.
  • Expertise in consulting on advantageous financing for solar.
  • Consulting on all things solar related.

Whidbey Sun and Wind

Coupeville, WA(360) 678-7131

Services

  • Installation of solar arrays.
  • Installation of batteries for energy storage.
  • Solar systems for selling electricity back to the grid.

Solora Solar

Issaquah, WA(425) 366-8953

Services

  • Installation of solar arrays.
  • Reparation of solar arrays.
  • Installation of batteries for energy storage.
  • Solar systems for selling electricity back to the grid.
  • Expertise in consulting on advantageous financing for solar.

Entegrity

Little Rock, AR(800) 700-1414

Services

  • Installation of solar arrays.
  • Expertise in consulting on advantageous financing for solar.

Northwest Electric & Solar

Kenmore, WA(206) 356-0601

Services

  • Installation of solar arrays.
  • Installation of batteries for energy storage.
  • Solar systems for selling electricity back to the grid.
  • Expertise in consulting on advantageous financing for solar.

Puget Sound Solar

Seattle, WA(206) 706-1931

Services

  • Installation of solar arrays.
  • Reparation of solar arrays.
  • Installation of batteries for energy storage.
  • Solar systems for selling electricity back to the grid.
  • Expertise in consulting on advantageous financing for solar.
  • Consulting on all things solar related.

LightEdison

Denver, CO(888) 966-6377

Services

  • Installation of solar arrays.
  • Reparation of solar arrays.
  • Installation of batteries for energy storage.
  • Expertise in consulting on advantageous financing for solar.

Sunergy Systems

Seattle, WA(206) 279-0493

Services

  • Installation of solar arrays.
  • Installation of batteries for energy storage.
  • Solar systems for selling electricity back to the grid.

Barron Heating and AC

Ferndale, WA(360) 676-1131

Services

  • Installation of solar arrays.
  • Installation of batteries for energy storage.
  • Solar systems for selling electricity back to the grid.
Last Reviewed By: Fernando García
Published: 2022-09-18