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    Fact Sheet: Solar Energy Use in Washington

    Washington State is located in the heart of the gorgeous Pacific Northwest. Seattle is not only one of the country's most eclectic and beautiful cities, but also one of the most environmentally aware. The state is also home to numerous tourist attractions including Mt. Rainier, the Puget Sound, Lake Chelan, and the Hoh Rain Forest - one of the largest temperate rain forests in the country. Washington's unique beauty, still untouched in many places, is rare in today's world. In order to protect these natural resources, Washington is working hard to establish strong solar incentives for its residents.
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    CC-PD-Mark, source: WikipediaWashington's solar industry is steadily growing. Despite its reputation for dark, wet weather, Washington was the second state in the nation to pass a Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS), requiring that 15% of utilities’ electricity production must come from renewable resources by 2020. Washington also offers several great solar incentives to make solar power convenient for homeowners. Read on to learn more about solar energy in the state and decide if a solar system is right for you and your home.

    Grid Connected Solar Power Systems In Washington (2012)

    • Residential Solar Power Systems: 5.2 Megawatt
    • Non-Residential Solar Power Systems: 2.0 Megawatt
    • Utility: NA
    • Total: 7.2 Megawatt
    • Cumulative: 19.5 Megawatt

    With 26 MW of solar energy currently installed, Washington ranks 25th in the country in installed solar capacity. This is enough installed solar energy to power 2,500 homes.

    Cost of Electricity in Washington

    • Electricity Price: $0.08 per kWh
    • Average Electricity Bill: $159
    • Average Bill after Solar: $68

    Homeowners who invest in solar energy systems in Washington can save themselves nearly $50 on electricity each month. Monthly payments for leased solar energy systems in the state are approximately $48, leaving residents with $43 in savings every month. Solar energy systems in Washington take around 10.3 years to pay for themselves.

    Solar Radiation

    Average solar radiation in Washington is between 2 and 3 Kilowatt per day in the western half of the state and between 3 and 4 Kilowatt per day throughout the eastern half. These amounts represent an area of 1 square meter (10.76 square foot).

    Despite its reputation for rain and clouds, the myth that Washington is unsuitable for solar energy is false. Not only are the state's sunny, clear summer days especially long due to its northern location, today's solar panels are also more than capable of capturing sunlight on cloudy days. Washington has plenty of sunshine for successful solar energy systems.

    State Solar Incentives and Rebate Programs

    • State Solar Tax Credit: None
    • State Solar Rebate: None
    • Property Tax Exemption: None
    • Sales Tax Exemption: 100%

    Washington still needs to develop a few key solar incentives. The state currently lacks a statewide rebate program. However, Snohomish County (Washington’s third largest county) residents are eligible to receive a rebate on the price of solar installation at a rate of $500 per kilowatt installed, up to a maximum rebate of $2,500. Washington also maintains a solid net metering law: for every extra kwh of energy produced each month, homeowners receive 8.39 cents to carry forward to any subsequent charges. Additionally, the Federal Tax Credit also applies.

    Solar Installers in Washington

    There are no specific requirements for solar installers in Washington. Nonetheless, solar installers must be licensed as electrical contractors. Verify the license of your solar installer by checking out Washington's Department of Labor and Industries website.

    Summary: Good Conditions for Solar Power Systems

    Washington has a lot of potential for a thriving solar power industry. While it could benefit from more rebate programs and tax exemptions, solar incentives such as its net metering law and the sales tax exemption can result in excellent savings. To calculate your costs and savings please use our Solar Calculator or contact solar installers in your area.

    Fact Sheet Solar Energy Use in WashingtonSolar Energy Fact Sheet: Washington, ©

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    Written by: Oliver Wulf, Editor