Washington Goes Solar with SunPower®
Does solar power work in Washington? You bet!
The state of solar power in Washington
Washington State is one of those places you might look at and balk when it comes to solar power. It's easy to be turned away by the clouds and rain.
The Solar Energy Industries Association reflects this in its ranking, putting Washington State at 30th in the nation when it comes to solar power generation. In 2018, however, it stood at 24th, which isn't much lower than other, sunnier states. Are people just intimidated by Washington's gloomy weather, or is it really a poor location for solar energy production?
How much solar power does Washington produce?
Washington State produces fairly low amounts of solar energy, comprising about 0.08% of the state's total energy. This translates to 197.23MW powering 18,900 homes. Washington is one of few states where the number of installations (19,275) is higher than the number of homes they sustain.
Washington's biggest year for solar power was 2018 at well over 60MW installed, which is likely what put it at 24th in the nation that year. Other years yielded less than half that number of installations.
Is solar power generation feasible in Washington state?
This is perhaps the most frequently asked question when it comes to solar power in Washington State. Contrary to popular belief, the weather is not as detrimental to solar generation as you may think.
Washington, as a northern state, has summer days as long as its winter nights, which works to its advantage. Plus, cooler temperatures activate the electrons in solar panels, increasing solar production. While overcast days may have been a greater concern at one time, modern solar panels can absorb light despite cloudy weather.
Washington also has a Renewable Portfolio Standard, stating that a certain amount of energy must be obtained from renewable resources each year. Solar power for this purpose can create a rate of return of anywhere from 5.8% to 17%. However, despite improving technology, solar panels in Washington are still 36% less cost-effective than in the average US state.
How much does solar cost in Washington?
It's worth noting that, despite lower initial costs, Washington State offers few tax incentives aside from the 26% federal tax credit.* In fact, a solar system in this state may save you on average $668.63 per year, which could take approximately 30 years to realize a return on your investment, but it can help increase your home's value when selling.
- *. Tax credits subject to change. SunPower does not warrant, guarantee or otherwise advise its partners or customers about specific tax outcomes. Consult your tax advisor regarding the solar tax credit and how it applies to your specific circumstances. Please visit the dsireusa.org website for detailed solar policy information.
What legal considerations affect solar power in Washington?
Washington was one of the first states to implement a Renewable Portfolio Standard in 2006, which means it has been ahead when it comes to renewable energy for quite some time. It just happens that it's behind in solar generation.
Most of the legal considerations fall under the area of taxes. There is no income tax credit because Washington has no state income tax. The downside is that while solar power increases property value, that value is taxed, as there are no state regulations saying it can't be.
How can I start using solar in Washington?
While having some misgivings about installing solar power in a consistently dreary state is natural, that doesn't mean it's not worth it. Solar generation can have a high value even in Washington.
At SunPower, we created solar power systems designed for efficiency. Solar may be right for your Washington home or business. To find out, we offer free consultations and estimates, and our local experts perform site assessments so we can advise you on the best solar system for your needs. Contact us on the SunPower website or call us at (800) 786-7693.
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