Top 5 Best Solar Companies in Washington (2023 Reviews)
By Dan Simms /
Here’s what we’ll cover in this guide to Washington solar panels:
The first step to installing solar in WA is to choose a solar company and request a quote. This process typically takes a few days, as the company will need to review one of your recent energy bills, inspect your property for shading and sun availability and take measurements of your roof. Based on this information, the company will design a system for your home, which you’ll need to approve.
Next, you’ll choose a financing option, including cash purchase, solar loan, solar lease, or power purchase agreement (PPA) — but not all options are offered by all installers. Then, permits will be filed, and your installation will be performed. The permits will need to be closed out to complete your solar project.
Going solar in WA is very often a decent investment. Although solar isn’t as valuable in The Evergreen State as it is in other areas in the U.S., most solar arrays in the area pay for themselves — in a time period called the panel payback period. In addition, they provide an average of over $10,000 in energy savings after they pay themselves off.
The cost of solar panels in WA averages around $2.69 per watt, which is just above the national average. Most homes in the state need around a 10 kilowatt (kW) system to offset electric bills. At the average cost per watt, that’s a total of $18,830 after the Residential Clean Energy Credit (the applicable federal income tax credit) is considered.
As mentioned above, photovoltaic (PV) systems in WA almost always pay themselves off with energy savings. The average payback period in the area is 16 years. This is well above the national average of 12 years, meaning solar is a bit less valuable in WA than in most other states.
For more information on the price you’ll pay for your system or how to determine the value of solar for your home, you can check out our cost and value guide for solar in WA.
The Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) reports that WA ranks 36th in the country for solar adoption,1 but this number reflects an increase in residential solar installations over the past decade. In response, most of the larger solar manufacturers now offer their products throughout WA.
WA is well known for frequent rainfall and cloudy weather, with just 165 sunny days per year.2 The lack of sunshine means that most residents need to choose high-efficiency panels in order to offset their electric bills.
Below are some of the most popular panel brands installed in WA. All of these are monocrystalline panels that provide excellent energy efficiency.
The lack of sunshine in WA means that solar viability is lower than in other states, and the overall value of solar equipment is less. However, WA is still a great place for many people to convert to solar, and it does end up saving quite a bit of money for most solar customers. Below are some of the factors that make solar a good option in WA.
Solar electricity production varies a lot between systems and locations, even within the same city. There are several reasons for this variation, including the specs of your system and the conditions on and around your specific property. We’ll explain some of the factors that affect your power generation rate below.
Although all of these factors combine to make estimating your production levels a challenge, you can use averages to get an idea of what you can expect. The chart below includes some rough numbers for energy production for common system sizes in WA.
|Solar Power System Size||Expected Daily Energy Produced||Expected Monthly Energy Produced||Expected Annual Energy Produced|
|7 kW||23.3 kWh||700 kWh||8,400 kWh|
|8 kW||26.6 kWh||800 kWh||9,600 kWh|
|9 kW||30 kWh||900 kWh||10,800 kWh|
|10 kW||33.3 kWh||1,000 kWh||12,000 kWh|
|11 kW||36.6 kWh||1,100 kWh||13,200 kWh|
|12 kW||40 kWh||1,200 kWh||14,400 kWh|
|13 kW||43.3 kWh||1,300 kWh||15,600 kWh|
You can also use our solar calculator to get a better idea of how much energy panels on your roof will generate. This tool considers shading on your property and your exact location to determine local weather conditions and sunlight availability. It also estimates what size system you’ll need to offset your energy bills.
WA has only a handful of solar incentives available today, but the state has a rich history of pushing clean energy through incentive programs and rebates.
The state’s pro-solar legislation began in 1979 when it established the solar easements and rights laws. This perk helped establish the right to install equipment and access solar energy for all residents, including those in strict homeowners associations (HOAs).
It wasn’t until over two decades later that the next pro-solar policy — net metering — was established. This is one of the most important perks for solar customers in the U.S. It’s a billing policy that lets you overproduce with your panels. You get credited for all of the excess power and can use the credits to pay down future utility bills.
WA’s net metering policy is a good one, as it credits customers at the retail rate for electricity. This is far better than the avoided-cost rate that many other states have adopted. However, credits in WA only carry forward for a year, and any that are unused are forfeited to your utility company each April.
In 2006, WA set its first Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS), mandating that the state produce at least 15% of its power using renewable sources by 2020.
That same year, likely in direct response to the RPS goal, the Washington State University Energy Program started the Renewable Energy System Incentive Program. This was a credit for between $0.12 and $1.08 for every kilowatt produced with a rooftop solar energy system for up to 15 years.
This program was wildly successful and ran out of funding in 2018, three years ahead of the target.
Finally, in 2009, WA began offering renewable energy sales and use tax exemption. This policy waived sales tax on all equipment and installation costs — including panels, inverters, and solar batteries — for up to 10 kW.
This is most valuable in high-tax areas like Seattle and Puget Sound, but it saves a minimum of 6.5% in state sales tax regardless of where in WA you live.6
Although some of the above policies have expired, there are still several perks available in WA today. We’ll discuss these briefly below.
For more information on these benefit programs, local perks that might be available to you, and other benefits for energy efficiency upgrades you can read through our WA solar incentive guide.
Data from the Solar Energy Industries Association suggest that there are over 50 local solar installation companies throughout WA, along with national and regional installers. Choosing the best one for you can be a complicated and time-consuming process.
Luckily, we’ve given you a head start by reviewing the top installers throughout the state. You can check out our guide to picking a reputable solar installer in Washington State for more information and company recommendations.
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