Solar Panel Cost Guide in Washington, DC (Dec 2022)

  • Washington Solar Installation Cost: $18,492
  • 25-Year Savings: $8,659
  • Payback Period: 17.0 Years

See cost of a solar system near you:

EcoWatch Local Advisors

By EcoWatch Local Advisors

Updated 11/09/2022

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Average Cost of Solar Panels in Washington

Find out what the average cost of installing solar panels is in Washington.

Although the national average of solar panels is $2.66 per watt, solar panels in Washington generally cost around $3. The average solar panel system size in Washington is around 8.4 kilowatts, meaning a cost of about $18,492 for a solar installation, or $13,684 after the 30% federal solar tax credit is applied.

The true cost of your system can be higher or lower than the average in Washington depending on a few factors, such as the model of solar panels you choose and the solar installer you hire. For many homeowners, the upfront cost of solar panels is worth paying. On average you could be looking at about $12,000 in savings on utility bills over 20 years.

Click the button below to get connected to a top solar installer in your area for a customized estimate.

Solar savings over time in Washington

Year Return on Investment
1 years $-17,406
3 years $-15,234
5 years $-13,062
7 years $-10,890
9 years $-8,718
11 years $-6,546
13 years $-4,374
15 years $-2,201
17 years $-29
19 years $2,143
21 years $4,315
23 years $6,487
25 years $8,659

Top Solar Installers in Washington

Many homeowners decide to hire a solar panel company since trying to put up solar panels by yourself can be a lot of work. Also, companies with a good reputation that are more expensive upfront could actually save you money in the long run with their warranties, repair services and expert design.

There are various licensed solar professionals that can take care of your solar installation project. Here are our suggestions:

Best National Provider

SunPower

★★★★★
5.0

  • Most efficient panels on the market
  • National coverage
  • Cradle to Cradle sustainability certification
  • Great warranty coverage
  • Expensive
  • Customer service varies by local dealer

Best Technology

Tesla Energy

★★★★★
4.5

  • Price-match guarantee
  • Sleek, efficient, and durable solar panels
  • Best solar battery on the market
  • Some reported issues with customer service
  • Customer service varies by local dealer

See all of the solar companies in Washington

Factors that Affect Solar Panel Costs in Washington

The cost of installing a solar system in Washington can vary by more than $10,000 from home to home. Your actual cost is determined by several factors. The largest one is your system size, and other factors include equipment choices, financing options and the solar company you choose.

Solar Equipment

The cost of solar panel systems varies by thousands of dollars due to some different factors. One of the main factors is the system size, which is measured in kilowatts (kW). Solar power systems that have greater efficiency or power generation need better technology and/or more equipment, both of which can raise costs. For each additional kilowatt you need, your cost can go up by about $3,160. The solar equipment you choose can increase or decrease your cost by thousands or even tens of thousands of dollars. If you opt for the most efficient solar panel brands, you'll end up paying more upfront than if you opted for the most affordable panels. However, more efficient panels could save you more in the long run on your energy bills. In addition, extra products, such as solar batteries, can bring your total well above the Washington average.

Solar Financing Terms

For some homeowners, paying for solar panels out of pocket can be challenging. Solar loans are offered by most installers in Washington, which can lower, or in some cases completely eliminate, your upfront costs to make solar more accessible. It's a good idea to factor the interest you'll pay in your final cost estimate. If you can afford to pay a larger down payment, you can reduce your total costs and the amount of time it'll take to pay back the loan.

Solar Panel Installation Company

Lastly, the company you get to install your solar system can impact your pricing. Washington's solar companies all have different labor costs and add varying upcharges to equipment. Larger national companies typically have lower costs, but some local companies compete with them by promoting sales and discounts. While the smaller companies might not have access to specific equipment options like Tesla Powerwall batteries or additional services like electric car charger installation, they might be cheaper overall.

Solar Panel Cost Data by System Size

System size Cost per system watt Solar system cost 25-Year savings Payback period
6 kW $3.29 $13,803 $5,687 17.7 years
8 kW $3.22 $18,050 $7,936 17.4 years
10 kW $3.16 $22,120 $10,363 17.0 years
12 kW $3.10 $26,013 $12,966 16.7 years
14 kW $3.03 $29,729 $15,746 16.3 years
16 kW $2.97 $33,268 $18,704 16.0 years
18 kW $2.91 $36,631 $21,838 15.7 years
20 kW $2.84 $39,816 $25,149 15.3 years

How to Save on Solar Panels

There are a lot of companies available in Washington, and some homeowners feel overwhelmed considering their options. Choosing the right company for you can be difficult, so here are some tips to help you decide:

  • Solar Panel Brands: Different companies carry various brands and models of panels. If you want a specific brand, make sure the solar panel company you're considering has it.
  • Contract: Before signing a contract with a solar installer, make sure you read it through completely so you understand the terms. Also, ask questions if you're unsure about some of the terms, such as what to do if a part breaks or malfunctions and what services you can expect from them.
  • Reputation: Companies that have been operating for many years likely have a high reputation. This is important because it ensures that it will not only see your solar project through, but will also provide adequate aftercare and customer support, such as part repairs and replacements.
  • Installation Process: Homeowners should understand how exactly the installation process will be carried out, as well as important factors like the project completion timeline.

Best National Provider

SunPower

★★★★★
5.0

  • Most efficient panels on the market
  • National coverage
  • Cradle to Cradle sustainability certification
  • Great warranty coverage
  • Expensive
  • Customer service varies by local dealer

Best Technology

Tesla Energy

★★★★★
4.5

  • Price-match guarantee
  • Sleek, efficient, and durable solar panels
  • Best solar battery on the market
  • Some reported issues with customer service
  • Customer service varies by local dealer

EcoWatch's Washington, DC Solar Cost FAQs

What is the average cost of installing solar panels in Washington?

The average cost of solar panels in Washington is about $15,800 for a 5-kW system and $31,600 for a 10-kW system before the ITC, but the actual cost will depend on stuff like the kind of solar panels you want, what size system you need and how much energy you consume.

Is it better to lease or buy solar panels in Washington?

Leasing solar panels can be an option if you can't pay upfront or secure a solar loan, but since you don't own the system, you don't have access to many solar incentives. Also your property value won't increase, so you'll have less savings over time. If you can afford to buy a solar system upfront, then buying is the better option if you want the most savings from going solar.

Does Washington have a net metering program?

The majority of states offer net metering programs of some kind. Through these, you can either be compensated for the extra power your system produces or or receive credits to put toward future energy bills. Currently there are just three states that don't have any net metering laws: Alabama, Tennessee and South Dakota.

How long do solar panels last in Washington?

Even though the average lifespan of solar panels is 25 to 30 years, that doesn't mean they stop working completely at that time. What this means is their energy production will have decreased significantly after that point. You can choose to replace them after having them for that long or you can continue to use them at a lower efficiency.

Our goal is to reach as many people as we can with sensible solutions like solar energy. Our team of full-time local researchers collects solar price and installation data for every city in America then compiles it to create these digestible city guides. If you want to read our solar expert's opinion on the top solar companies featured here, follow this link.

Company research was conducted by Melissa Smith and Karsten Neumeister. Local data analysis was conducted by James Savino. See something we missed or could do better? Email the editor.

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