Solar Incentives in Washington State

Washington State provides generous incentives for businesses and homeowners installing a solar electric power system

In addition to the 30% Federal tax credit, Washington incentives can pay for an additional 50% of the cost of a solar energy project.

 

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Solar incentives in Washington State include:

  • Production incentive:  This incentive is currently in effect through June, 2030.   Paid by a check in December of each year, the production incentive is a cash payment paid to a solar power system owner for all the solar energy that system has produced during the previous year at the following schedule:

Through fiscal year 2019:  $.18 per kWh for systems less than 12 kW in size using modules (panels) made in Washington State.  Maximum payment per year:  $5000.

Through fiscal year 2019   $.14 per kWh for systems less than 12 kW using solar components not made in Washington State.  Maximum payment per year:  $5000.

Through fiscal year 2019:  $.08 per kWh for systems more than 12 kW in size using modules (panels) made in Washington State.  Maximum payment per year:  $25,000.

Through fiscal year 2019   $.04 per kWh for systems more than 12 kW using solar components not made in Washington State.   Maximum payment per year:  $25,000.

The current program, started in 2017, will allow new applicants to sign up each year through the end of fiscal year 2021.  The program will close to new applicants in mid-2021.  Washington State University administers the incentive program, and participating utilities do so on a voluntary basis.

  • The subscription period for this program is 4 years, starting 2018.
  • The award is reduced at each fiscal year end from June 30, 2018 through 2021.
  • Each subscriber will receive the award for a total of 8 years from the date of certification.
  • Incentive payments are capped at 50% of system cost.
  • Battery storage systems or other components are not counted toward system cost in figuring the 50% system cost cap.
  • The Washington incentive program is complex, and in some cases, hard to understand.
    • There is no white paper or instruction manual on the program, but you can read the law here.
  • ACT NOW!! The funding cap for the Washington State Incentive is likely to be reached as early as December, 2018.

 

  • Net Metering:  With no end date set by the state legislature, net metering provides a direct credit for all electricity produced by a solar power system, with a cap set at the total amount of electricity consumed over one calendar year.  Credit can be carried forward for one calendar year when it is settled by the utility on April 30 of that year. 
    • For example, if you use more electricity in winter months when solar electric production is normally low, this higher electric usage can be offset by higher solar electric production in the spring and summer months.
    • If a solar power system produces more electricity than an owner uses during the course of a full year, the value of the extra electricity is kept by the utility, partly in compensation for administering the solar incentive programs.

For detailed information on all the incentives available for Washington State residents, please visit the U.S. Department of Energy’s DSIRE database.