Top 5 Best Solar Companies in Washington (2023 Reviews)
By Dan Simms /
Here’s a quick look at the estimated cost of solar in Washington:
*Average system size is calculated using data from the Energy Information Administration. This price is after tax credit.
**Payback period is calculated assuming the system is purchased in cash.
The typical cost per watt for a solar energy system in Washington is $2.69, slightly above the national average of $2.66. Most homeowners in Washington need a 10-kW system to offset energy costs entirely, which means the average total to go solar is $26,900 before the federal tax credit, or $18,830 after the credit is applied.
The electricity rates in Washington are relatively inexpensive — around $95 per month — so solar conversions won’t go as far as they would in places like California, where energy use is high. However, great state incentives and an excellent net metering program still mean solar energy is a good investment for most homeowners in Washington.
The size of the solar electric system you need is the most significant cost factor to consider. For every additional kilowatt you need, you can expect your total to increase by nearly $2,700. The table below provides some estimates for typical system sizes in Washington State both before and after the federal tax credit.
|Size of Solar Panel System||Washington Solar Panel Cost||Cost After Federal Tax Credit|
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See also: Calculate the costs and savings you can get from installing solar panels
The average cost to install solar panels in Washington is around $19,906, but your specific system could fall well below or above that average based on a few different factors. Typical prices range from $13,934 up to approximately $25,878.
Below, we’ll explain the most significant cost factors that affect solar panel system pricing in Washington.
Some of the most important things to consider when calculating your estimated cost of going solar are the brand of equipment you install and the specific pieces of equipment you want to be included in your system.
You’ll have access to many different solar panel brands in Washington, but most homeowners require high-efficiency options because of the lack of sunlight in the area. Washington residents experience just 152 days of sunlight every year, which is one of the lowest in the country and well below the national average of 205 days.
The lack of available sunshine means that high-efficiency solar panels are all but a necessity. As a result, solar equipment tends to be more costly in the state, on average.
Next, the type of equipment you install will have a large impact on your overall price. In some areas, add-on products like solar batteries are popular because of frequent power outages.
Luckily, Washington doesn’t get much in the way of extreme weather, so most homeowners don’t feel the need to add solar batteries. This helps to keep costs low, as some batteries can add thousands of dollars to your total.
The payment method you use to acquire your solar panel system will also play a significant role in the price you pay to go solar.
Unfortunately, Washington State doesn’t have a Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) program for residential solar customers, but the Property Assessed Clean Energy and Resiliency (PACER) program does benefit commercial customers.
The Clean Energy Fund (CEF) in Washington is also available to help low-income households secure affordable solar financing that comes with a low APR.
The installation company you choose can have a major impact on the price you pay for your solar panel system for two primary reasons.
First, solar installers in Washington can charge different prices for labor and materials. Even choosing the same system and equipment from two different installers can yield wildly different prices. This is why it’s a good idea to shop around and find an installer that fits your budget and also provides equipment that can cover your energy needs.
Second, not every installer offers the same panel brands, and the products offered can create disparities in pricing among different installers.
For example, Puget Sound Solar, a local solar company in Washington, offers products from Hyundai, Hanwha, Silfab, Tesla and Solaria (to name a few). Many of these brands are considered budget-friendly, so the average cost of choosing this company will be relatively low.
In contrast, opting for a solar panel system from SunPower, one of the leading national solar companies, will be far more expensive in most cases. SunPower only installs Maxeon panels, which include the highest efficiency, the greatest quality and one of the best warranties in the country.
It’s true that you’ll pay more when going with SunPower over most local options, but you’ll also get top-quality products. As such, it’s important to compare installers based on overall quality and not just cost alone.
There are some additional considerations you should make before choosing a solar installer in Washington State. We’ll briefly explain these other factors below.
Washington is a very solar-friendly state, so residents can expect the benefit of several solar tax incentives and rebates when going solar. Below are the incentives offered to Washington homeowners by the federal and state governments.
The federal solar investment tax credit (ITC) is one of the most appealing incentives available to Washington residents. Offered by the federal government, the ITC is a rebate on your federal income tax in the amount of 30% of your total solar system cost. In Washington, that comes out to an average savings of $8,070, reducing the average price from $26,900 to $18,830.
You’ll need to install your solar system by 2032 to take full advantage of this incentive. It’s scheduled to drop to 26% in 2033 and 22% in 2034 and be eliminated for residential panels in 2035 unless Congress renews the bill.
Net metering is an incentive program that allows you to pay your utility provider for the energy you pull from the grid less any your panels produce above and beyond what your home consumes. In other words, when you use more electricity than your solar system creates, you’ll pull the excess from the grid. When you use less than you produce, you route the excess energy production to the grid. Any excess sent to the grid will be compensated for via energy credits.
The net metering policy in Washington was established in 2000 when Washington State Legislation enacted a bill mandating utility companies to offer net metering. The Mandatory Utility Green Power Option guarantees that you’ll earn energy credits for excess power production, which can be used to offset electricity costs in future billing cycles.
Ultimately, this policy helps eliminate electric costs in Washington, increasing the overall value of solar energy systems. Every electric company has a slightly different process and net metering rate, so be sure to check yours before you commit.
Finally, Washington State offers several solar incentives to residents, the first of which is the Renewable Energy Projects Sales & Use Tax Exemptions. This sales tax exemption means you won’t pay sales tax on your solar equipment or installation. Since the average sales tax rate in Washington is 6.5%, that’s an average savings of $1,749.
Washington State has also established Solar Easement & Rights Laws, which guarantees that homeowners can install solar and have access to sunlight that would usually hit their property. That means you can install solar even if you’re in a strict HOA that restricts exterior changes, and you can work with your neighbor or other entities to guarantee that your panels aren’t obstructed.
Finally, independent municipalities throughout Washington and even individual utility companies offer incentives and rebates. You can check the DSIRE database before going solar to see what other local incentives might be available to you.
As mentioned above, the solar panel brand you choose will play a role in your overall pricing.
The table below will include some of the best solar panel brands available in Washington, as well as the relative pricing for those options. This should help you determine which brands are likely to fall within your budget and which will be outside of it.
|Solar Panel Brand||Average Cost Per Watt ($-$$$$$)|
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Read More About Going Solar
The EcoWatch team gets tons of questions from the state of Washington about solar conversions and what the process will cost for them. Below are the more frequent questions we see, along with our responses. If you have specific questions that aren’t answered here, reach out to our team of solar experts at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The answer to this question will vary from homeowner to homeowner because not every house requires the same size system. The capacity you need is determined by many factors, including your home size, roof size, roof orientation, monthly energy consumption, and more.
To get an idea of what your solar system will cost, you can base it loosely on the average cost to go solar in the area, which is $26,900 before the federal tax credit or $18,830 after the credit is applied.
Yes, you can absolutely expect your home value to increase significantly, so long as you buy or finance your solar panels and don’t opt for a solar lease or Power Purchase Agreement (PPA),
According to research done by Zillow, the average home increases by about 4.1% with solar installation. In Washington, where the average home price is $573,071 at the time of publication, that’s a massive value boost of $23,496!
Solar leases might seem appealing because they typically require no money down, but solar financing and cash purchases are considered better options in almost every situation.
Leasing your panels means your property value won’t increase, so you’ll lose out on an average of $23,496 in home value. Leases also don’t give you access to the federal tax credit, which would be an additional $8,070 you’ll be passing up with a lease. Finally, leasing panels doesn’t save you nearly as much on energy costs as buying with a cash purchase or solar loan would.
Yes! In Washington, where the net metering policy is strong and other incentives are abundant, it is possible to eliminate your utility bills. For most homeowners throughout the state, reducing electric costs to $0 per month will require at least a 10-kW system. Not all homes will have the roof space for that size system, so you’ll want to check with a local solar installer to see how many panels your home can accommodate.
Cost is always an important factor when going solar, but in Washington, your specific location in the state will typically matter more. Local incentives vary between municipalities and electric providers, and these can affect your costs significantly. Additionally, solar will go further in Southeast Washington—like in Walla Walla—given that sunlight is more abundant than in the Seattle area or other cities in the Puget Sound region.
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