Washington solar panels: local pricing and installation data

Over 28,000 homeowners in Washington have used EnergySage to receive & compare solar panel installation quotes!

Updated 4/13/2024

Solar Data Explorer:

Out-of-pocket cost  
Net 20-year savings  
Payback period  
Electricity bill offset  

Solar installation costs do not include the 30% federal investment tax credit or local incentives.

Save money by installing solar panels in WA.

Property owners throughout the Evergreen State are taking advantage of the economic and environmental benefits of solar power.

Solar in Washington

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While Washington may be cloudy more days than not, the solar outlook in the Evergreen State is quite bright. Washington is a model example of a state that does not let weather stop it from exploring the many benefits of solar energy. Solar incentives such as net metering availability and solar easements and rights help make Washington a great place to go solar.

How much do solar panels cost in Washington?

From Washington data, it is shown that the average cost of a solar panel installation ranges from $13,090 to $17,710. On a cost per watt ($/W) basis, a solar panel installation in Washington ranges in price from $2.62 to $3.54. See how Washington compares to solar panel costs across the U.S.

How long does it take to earn back your initial investment in solar panels? A solar payback period is the amount of time it takes for property owners who install solar panels to recover their initial investment through electricity savings. In Washington, the average solar payback period is 16.31 years.

Regardless of the exact cost of installation, there are many affordable financing options for solar panel systems. Cash purchases are one common method to pay for solar and often lead to the most long-term value for your money. If an upfront purchase isn’t right for you, solar loans and solar lease/PPAs are available to help finance a solar energy system.

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$13,090 – $17,710

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What solar panels should I install in Washington?

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For property owners, you now can customize your solar panels, inverters, racking systems, and batteries, as well as the general aesthetic of the installation. This customizability has made it important for solar consumers to understand these various factors. For example, the best solar panels available may have premium efficiencies and warranties, but will typically be more costly. However, depending on the size of the installation, you’ll need to determine whether high-efficiency solar panels that can produce more electricity are worthwhile. Also, your appetite for risk can help determine which solar warranties best fit your needs. These are just a few of the many factors to consider when selecting solar panel equipment.

How much energy can I get from solar in Washington?

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Aside from the power output of the solar equipment you choose to install, the amount of energy you generate with solar panels in Washington is directly related to the amount of sunlight that hits your panels. While sunlight is not always plentiful in Washington, residents of the Evergreen State can feel fortunate that their state offers steady financial incentives for going solar.

There are additional factors that determine how much solar electricity you can produce. These include shading and panel angle, which are used to calculate your total production estimate. a prediction of how much energy your solar installation will produce over time. This evaluation offers a clear estimate of how much energy your solar installation will produce. You can see how much solar panels can save you based on factors like geographic location and shading by using the EnergySage Solar Calculator.

Washington solar incentives

Solar incentives in Washington can help you reduce the overall price of going solar. Learn more about why solar panels are such a great investment in Washington.

Learn about solar incentives in WA

What rebates and incentives are there in Washington for solar?

The federal investment tax credit, now referred to as the Residential Clean Energy Credit for residential systems, has been one of the most reliable and impactful incentives for solar across the U.S. This solar incentive allows you to deduct 30 percent of the total system cost from your federal taxes. For example, a solar energy system installation that costs $15,000 out of pocket will qualify for a tax deduction of $4,500. For residential systems, this advantageous incentive lasts until the end of 2032 at which point it steps down to 26 percent. The federal ITC drops to 22 percent in 2034 and is eliminated for residential solar installations in 2035. Commercial systems are eligible at least through 2024, but may not be eligible for the full 30 percent depending on certain labor and domestic manufacturing requirements; they also may be eligible for specific ITC adders.

Besides the federal ITC, Washington has additional incentives for going solar that are dependent on your area and utility company. Of note are net metering availability and solar easements and rights. To learn more about Washington’s best financial incentives for solar, check out our complete overview of the state’s best solar incentives.

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History of solar policy in Washington

For the Evergreen State, solar energy has become a critical part of its future energy plans. Over the past decade, there has been a rush of solar development that now places the state at 30th in SEIA’s national rankings with a total installed solar capacity of over 175 megawatts (MW). Encouragingly, Washington installed the most single-year capacity of solar energy in the state’s history just this past year. While declining solar technology and installation prices have made consumers more attracted to solar, state level policies and incentives have been crucial in helping establish the industry.

The first solar policy Washington enacted came in 1979, when the state implemented the Solar Easements and Rights Laws. Although the policy doesn’t focus on financial incentives, it recognized solar energy usage as a property right and ensured that proper sunlight is made available to those who operate solar-energy systems.

In 1998, the state of Washington established net metering. Across the country, net metering programs have been crucial for the solar energy industry by allowing residents to send surplus net energy in the electric grid and receive compensation for it on their energy bill. In the Evergreen State, ratepayers with home solar systems of up to 100 kilowatt (kW) are compensated at the retail rate for excess generation exported onto the grid, a better compensation than the wholesale or avoided cost rate used in other states. However, any net solar surplus accumulated and not used is forfeited to the utility on April 30th of each year, without compensation.

The next notable piece of solar legislation passed in Washington is the state’s renewable portfolio standard, which was signed into law in 2006. Like net metering, state energy requirements have been instrumental in the development of clean energy across the nation. Washington’s Renewable Energy Standard requires utilities to supply 15 percent of their electricity sales from renewable energy by 2020.

Beyond its net metering and RPS policies, Washington provides a few additional financial incentives to make solar more accessible to everyone in the state. The first of these incentives is the Renewable Energy Cost Recovery Incentive Payment, which began in 2006 and lasted until 2018. The policy was crucial to the solar industry during its lifespan, as it paid $0.12/kWh - $1.08/kWh for solar generation for a maximum of 15 years, depending on project type, technology type and equipment manufacturing location. In fact, the policy was so successful and popular, funding for the program was exhausted three years earlier than anticipated. Another financial incentive for Washington residents is the Renewable Energy Sales and Use Tax Exemption, introduced in 2009. For solar home systems 10 kW or less in capacity, the state exempts solar owners from the sales tax associated with installing solar, helping decrease the cost of solar even further.