Benefits of Solar Energy
Solar energy offers multiple perks. Let's look at a few of them.
- Lower energy bills: Generating some or all of your own energy will save you money on your electric bills long-term.
- Reduced carbon footprint: Using clean solar power means you're less dependent on fossil fuels, which emit harmful greenhouse gasses.
- Better energy independence: Adding a solar battery lets you have trustworthy energy during grid outages and storms.
What Solar Incentives Are Available to Washington Homeowners?
District of Columbia homeowners who upgrade to solar could qualify for reimbursements, rebates, tax credits and special financing. Here are just a few of the local incentive programs.
Incentive Type: Solar Renewable Energy Credit ProgramWebsite: icc.illinois.gov
Negotiated with procurement administrators
Incentive Type: Property Tax Incentive
Incentive Type: Personal Tax CreditWebsite: ecowatch.com
30% federal tax credit for systems placed in service after 12/31/2021 and before 01/01/2033. Good for: solar water heat, solar photovoltaics, biomass, geothermal heat pumps, wind (small), fuel cells using renewable fuels.
How To Choose the Best Solar Company in Washington
Choosing a company is the first step toward an effective and cost-efficient solar system. Consider each of these factors in your contractor search.
Licensing and Training
To install solar energy systems in Washington, D.C., a contractor must be licensed in the trade for which the system is designed. Photovoltaic installers must be licensed electricians, solar HVAC installers must have an HVAC license and solar water heater installers must be licensed plumbers. You should also visit a company's website to learn about its private certifications. Two of the most respected are the PV Installation Professional and Solar Heating Installer certificates, backed by the North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP). Some companies don't publish this information online, so you should also ask your estimator about them.
Cost of Solar Panels in Washington
The style of solar panels you select determines how much electricity you can generate. Monocrystalline panels cost more but give you the best performance. Polycrystalline panels produce less power, but they're worth it if you want a traditional panel style without the high cost. Thin-film panels aren't meant for large home installations, but they're excellent for small projects like sheds and RVs.
Additional accessories, such as battery storage and electric vehicle (EV) chargers, will add to your overall costs. However, they might make your solar system more efficient and convenient to use. Not all solar contractors offer these extras, so look for a provider that installs them if it's crucial for you.
If you're a resident of Washington and are considering getting a five-kilowatt solar energy system, you could expect to pay about $17,700 for materials and labor. See more information on specific component and panel costs in the table.
|Solar Panel Cost
|Solar Home EV Charger
Financing Solar Energy in Washington
Choosing the best financing solution will impact your overall solar system cost and expected savings. Common payment options include power purchase agreements, loans, cash payments, and leases. Though it requires a large up-front payment, cash is the most economical choice because it doesn't accrue interest and qualifies you for incentives. Solar loans are the next best option. As with a car or home loan, you'll pay a monthly rate towards system ownership, including interest. You can still apply for valuable solar incentives, and depending on your lender, you could put as little as $0 down. Solar leases involve paying a set monthly rate to use rooftop panels. A PPA (Power Purchase Agreement) lets you pay a monthly rate based only on the energy you use, as with an electric bill. We generally don’t recommend these two options because you won't own the panels and are disqualified from using solar incentives. We advise working with a contractor that offers multiple financing options. Talk to each consultant about what's available, and acquire more than one estimate for the best odds of keeping within your spending limits.
The table below lists the average payback periods for different capacities of solar systems in Washington.
You are eligible for a 26% federal tax credit for new solar energy devices until the year 2032. Local and state governments and utility companies might also offer rebates, discounts, and specialized financing options that could save you more.
|Solar System Capacity
|Estimated Payback period
Ready to Get a Quote on Your Solar Project?
Frequently Asked Questions About Solar in Washington
How much money could I save by going solar in Washington?
Is solar energy common in Washington?
Should I anticipate a property value increase after installing solar panels?
Could I still use solar power if I live in a rainy, wooded, or dark area?
What's the average solar system size in Washington?
How long does it take to pay back a solar loan in Washington?
What are some "red flags" to watch for as I research companies?
- Pushy sales approach
- Being evasive about warranties, training and credentials, cost and references
- "One-size-fits-all" approach
- Not thoroughly inspecting your site
- Limited online information
To share feedback or ask a question about this article, send a note to our Reviews Team at firstname.lastname@example.org.