New Washington legislation makes solar more affordable for homes and businesses

The Washington State Legislature has approved a new solar production incentive, enabling thousands more homeowners and businesses to go solar during the program’s eight-year timeline.

Homeowners

Here are the program’s highlights:

  • From now until June 2021, homeowners who install a grid-connected solar photovoltaic system can receive up to $5,000 per year for eight years.
  • Your eight years start as soon as your system passes electrical inspection. Annual payments are based on how many kilowatt hours (kWh) your system produces.
  • The base rate is $0.16/kWh with a $0.05/kWh bonus for systems with solar panels made in Washington state.
  • The maximum size system you can install is 12 kilowatts. Solar PV systems larger than 12kW follow the production rate structure for businesses (see next section)
  • You can receive payments for eight years of energy production or until you have received up to 50% of your total system cost, whichever comes first.
  • The production rate you earn is based on the year when you install solar. The sooner a solar system is installed, the higher the rate you lock in for eight years:
Install your system before → 6/30/2018 6/30/2019 6/30/2020 6/30/2021
Base rate/kWh $0.16 $0.14 $0.12 $0.10
Made in Washington bonus rate/kWh $0.05 $0.04 $0.03 $0.02
Maximum possible rate/kWh $0.21 $0.18 $0.15 $0.12

In addition to updating the production rates available to homeowners, this legislation also updated the amount of funding for this program. Under the original program, the demand for solar was so great that several electric utilities were forced to reduce the incentive rates paid to solar owners. This new program eliminates the rate reductions by closing the program to new applicants once all available incentives are reserved. Although this means the program has limited capacity, it adds certainty for the homeowners who enroll before the program closes.

As you can tell, the time to go solar is now. Take advantage of our state’s fantastic new solar program to recoup up to 50 percent of your solar cost, plus a 30 percent Federal Income Tax Credit, plus the benefits of eliminating your electricity bill all together.

Businesses (or any system above 12kW)

In addition to updating the solar production incentives available to homeowners, our state’s new solar production incentive also adds enormous benefits to businesses adding solar:

  • Businesses installing a grid-connected solar photovoltaic system can receive up to $25,000 per year for eight years.
  • The base rate is $0.06/kWh with a $0.05/kWh bonus for systems with solar panels made in Washington state.
  • Just like residential systems, you can receive payments for eight years or until you have received up to 50% of your total system cost, whichever comes first.
  • The commercial production rate for commercial systems:
Install your system before → 6/30/2018 6/30/2019 6/30/2020 6/30/2021
Base rate/kWh $0.06 $0.04 $0.02 $0.02
Made in Washington bonus rate/kWh $0.05 $0.04 $0.03 $0.02
Maximum possible rate/kWh $0.11 $0.08 $0.05 $0.04

Community Solar

One of the most exciting components of this new solar production incentive is an updated Community Solar program. Community Solar is a fantastic option for people who do not own their home or whose home is not a good fit for solar. It also provides options to businesses who want more solar than their company’s rooftop can accommodate.

Community Solar systems follow the same rate structure as residential installations plus a few unique benefits that will vary based on your electric utility. To hear about new community solar projects as they are launched in your area, sign-up for updates about new projects.

Do you have questions about this new program, or do you want to know whether your home or business is a good fit for solar? Contact us today for a free design and estimate.