Solar Panels in Washington State: Cost, Companies & Tips

Local Solar

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By Smartpowr

Are you tired of watching your electricity bills climb year after year? You’re not alone. Many Washington homeowners are feeling the pinch of rising energy costs while also growing increasingly concerned about the environmental impact of traditional power sources. Fortunately, there’s a solution that can help you save money and reduce your carbon footprint at the same time: solar panels.

Thanks to Washington’s solar-friendly policies and incentives, now is an ideal time for homeowners to make the switch to clean, renewable energy. With the right solar setup, you can dramatically lower or even eliminate your monthly electric bills while also doing your part to combat climate change. And as we’ll explore in this guide, going solar in Washington is easier and more affordable than you might think.

Solar Panel Costs in Washington State

One of the first questions on most homeowners’ minds when considering solar is, “How much will it cost?” The good news is that solar panel prices have fallen significantly in recent years, making this clean energy solution more accessible than ever.

In Washington, the average cost per watt for solar panels ranges from $2.50 to $3.50, with most homeowners paying around $3.00 per watt. For a typical 6-kilowatt (kW) system, which is suitable for most homes, the total cost would come to around $18,000 before incentives. However, as we’ll discuss later, generous solar incentives and financing options can significantly reduce the upfront investment.

Solar Energy Washington State
Solar Energy Washington State

Several factors can influence the total cost of your solar installation, including:

  • System size and equipment type: Larger systems with premium panels and inverters will cost more than smaller setups with standard equipment. Top-tier brands like SunPowerLG, and Panasonic offer some of the highest efficiency and quality, but also come at a higher price point.
  • Location and available sunlight: Homes in sunnier parts of the state like Yakima or the Tri-Cities may require fewer panels to generate the same amount of electricity as those in cloudier regions like Seattle or Olympia. More sun means more energy production and potentially lower costs.
  • Solar company and financing option selected: Prices can vary between installers, even for the same equipment. Comparing quotes from multiple local companies is key to getting the best deal. Financing choices (e.g., cash purchase, loan, lease) will also affect your total costs over time.

Despite the upfront investment, most Washington homeowners who go solar see significant long-term savings. With an average payback period of 8-12 years, solar panels can provide free electricity for the remainder of their 25+ year lifespan. Over the course of 20 years, a typical 6 kW system can save homeowners $20,000 or more on electricity costs.

Washington Solar Incentives, Rebates & Tax Credits

While the long-term savings alone make solar a smart investment, Washington residents can take advantage of several generous incentives to reduce the upfront cost and speed up their payback period. Here are some of the key programs available:

  • Federal Solar Investment Tax Credit (ITC): This nationwide incentive allows you to deduct 30% of your solar installation costs from your federal taxes. For example, if your solar setup costs $18,000, you’d be eligible for a $5,400 tax credit. Note that the ITC will drop to 26% in 2033 and 22% in 2034 before expiring in 2035, so acting soon will maximize your savings. Learn more at
Solar Tax Credits
Solar Tax Credits
  • Washington State Sales Tax Exemption: Washington offers a complete sales tax exemption on solar equipment and installation labor. With state sales tax rates ranging from 6.5% to 10.4%, this incentive can save you hundreds or even thousands of dollars on your solar project. Details are available from the Washington State Department of Revenue.
  • Net Metering: Under Washington’s net metering policy, homeowners with solar panels can earn credits for excess electricity their systems produce. When your panels generate more power than your home needs, the surplus is sent to the grid, and you receive credits on your utility bill that can offset future electricity costs. This helps you get the most value from your solar investment. Check with your local utility for specific net metering rates and terms.
  • Local Utility Rebates: Some Washington utility companies offer additional rebates or incentives for customers who install solar. For example, Puget Sound Energy provides a $300 rebate for residential solar installations. Snohomish PUD and Clark Public Utilities also have solar incentive programs. Contact your utility to see what’s available in your area.

When combined, these incentives can dramatically reduce the net cost of going solar in Washington. For an $18,000 system, the 30% federal tax credit alone would trim $5,400 off the price, while the sales tax exemption could save you another $1,000 or more. Factor in utility rebates and net metering savings, and your total costs could be cut in half or more.

Choosing a Solar Installer in Washington

With the financial benefits of solar clear, the next step is finding a reputable installer to design and set up your system. Choosing an experienced, trustworthy solar company is crucial for ensuring your panels perform optimally and deliver the savings you expect.

When evaluating solar installers in Washington, consider the following key criteria:

  • Years in business, licenses, and insurance: Look for well-established companies with a proven track record of success. Ensure they are licensed, bonded, and insured to protect you in case of any issues. You can verify a contractor’s license status through the Washington State Department of Labor & Industries.
  • Workmanship warranties and equipment quality: Top installers stand behind their work with strong workmanship warranties (10+ years) and use high-quality equipment from reputable brands. Avoid companies that use cheap, unproven panels or inverters. Confirm that all equipment is backed by robust manufacturer warranties.
  • Pricing and financing options: Get quotes from multiple installers to compare costs and financing plans. Be cautious of deals that seem too good to be true, as they may involve lower-quality equipment or subpar installation practices. Make sure all costs and terms are clearly outlined in writing.
  • Customer reviews and service: Read reviews from past customers to gauge an installer’s reputation and customer service. Look for companies with high ratings and satisfied clients who are willing to recommend them to others. Check popular review sites like YelpGoogle, and EnergySage for honest feedback.


When it comes to choosing a solar installer in Washington state, there are many reputable companies to consider. Here are some of the top local solar providers known for their quality workmanship, customer service, and expertise:


Based in Seattle, SolTerra is passionate about innovation and sustainability. They offer affordable solar panels and excellent customer service. With over a decade of experience, SolTerra is a preferred choice for many Washington homeowners.

    • Location: 2909 1st Ave S, Seattle, WA 98134
    • Phone: (206) 462-1103

Solora Solar

Serving the Bellevue, Issaquah, Seattle, and Tacoma areas, Solora Solar is committed to providing high-quality solar panels and installation services. They guide customers through every step of the process and monitor system performance post-installation.

    • Location: 22525 SE 64th Pl #200, Issaquah, WA 98027
    • Phone: (425) 366-8953

Hot Solar Solutions LLC

Located in Burbank, Hot Solar Solutions believes in helping customers make their homes work for them. They offer solar panels and electrical services for both residential and commercial clients, with a focus on reducing environmental impact.

    • Location: 15 Jackie Ct, Burbank, WA 99323
    • Phone: (509) 539-6140

Sphere Solar Energy

Founded in 2015 by Edwin Wanji, Sphere Solar Energy is dedicated to providing eco-friendly energy systems. They help customers generate their own clean power while supporting solar projects in underserved communities.

    • Location: 9520 Roosevelt Way NE, Seattle, WA 98115
    • Phone: (206) 362-3780

Western Solar

As a certified B-Corp, Western Solar is committed to making solar accessible and affordable. They offer premium equipment, competitive pricing, and a 10-year workmanship warranty.

    • Location: 3188 Larch Way, Bellingham, WA 98226
    • Phone: (360) 746-0859

Puget Sound Solar

With over 20 years of experience, Puget Sound Solar is a trusted installer known for their solar expertise and quality workmanship. They offer a 10-year warranty on labor and roof penetrations.

    • Location: 800 Rainier Ave S, Seattle, WA 98144
    • Phone: (206) 706-1931

A&R Solar

This employee-owned company has been installing solar in Washington and Oregon since 2007. They offer comprehensive solar services, competitive pricing, and a 10-year workmanship warranty.

    • Location: 2725 1st Ave S, Seattle, WA 98134
    • Phone: (206) 707-9937

When evaluating solar companies, be sure to compare quotes, read customer reviews, and verify licenses and insurance. Look for installers with a proven track record, strong warranties, and a commitment to quality and customer satisfaction.

By choosing a reputable solar provider, you can feel confident in your investment and start enjoying the many benefits of clean, renewable energy for your Washington home.

Factors Affecting Solar Panel Performance in WA

While Washington may not be the sunniest state, it still receives enough sunlight to make solar a viable option for most homeowners. However, several factors can influence how much electricity your panels ultimately produce:

  • Climate and weather: Washington’s cloudy weather can somewhat reduce solar output compared to sunnier states. However, solar panels can still generate significant power even on overcast days. Cooler temperatures can also help panels operate more efficiently. In fact, Western Washington’s mild climate is actually ideal for solar production.
  • System design and panel orientation: To maximize production, solar panels should be installed at the optimal angle and orientation for your location. In Washington, south-facing roofs with a 30-45 degree tilt are generally ideal. Your installer should use specialized software to design a system that takes into account shading from trees, buildings, or other obstructions.
  • Equipment quality and warranty coverage: Higher-quality panels and inverters will typically perform better and last longer than cheaper, lower-tier equipment. Look for products with strong warranty coverage (25+ years for panels, 10+ years for inverters) to protect your investment. Brands like SunPower, LG, Panasonic, and Solaria are known for their top-notch performance and reliability.
  • Maintenance requirements: Solar panels have no moving parts and require very little maintenance. However, occasional cleaning to remove dust, debris, or snow can help keep your system operating at peak efficiency. Most installers offer maintenance plans for a worry-free experience. You can also easily clean panels yourself using a soft brush and hose.

By working with an experienced installer and choosing the right equipment for your home, you can maximize your solar panel performance and energy savings in Washington’s climate. Even in cloudy regions like Seattle, a well-designed 6 kW system can generate 7,000+ kilowatt-hours (kWh) of electricity per year – enough to offset a significant portion of a typical household’s energy needs.

Solar Financing Options in Washington

While the upfront cost of solar can seem daunting, Washington homeowners have several financing options to make the investment more manageable. Here are the three main ways to pay for your solar installation:

  1. Cash Purchase: Buying your solar panels outright with cash offers the best long-term savings and the shortest payback period. You’ll own your system from day one and be eligible for all incentives and rebates. However, this option requires a significant upfront investment.
  2. Solar Loan: Many homeowners opt to finance their solar purchase with a specialized solar loan. These loans are designed to help you go solar with little or no money down while still enjoying the benefits of ownership. You’ll make fixed monthly payments over 10-20 years, often with lower payments than your current electric bill. Many local credit unions like BECU and Puget Sound Cooperative Credit Union offer $0-down, low-interest solar loans to help make the switch to solar affordable.
  3. Lease or Power Purchase Agreement (PPA): With a solar lease or PPA, you can install solar panels with no upfront cost by allowing a third-party owner to place their panels on your roof. You then pay a fixed monthly rate for the electricity the panels produce, which is often lower than your current utility rate. While this option offers immediate savings, you won’t own the system or be eligible for incentives like the federal tax credit.

When comparing solar financing options, be sure to consider the total cost over the life of the system, not just the upfront price. A cash purchase or solar loan may cost more initially but will provide the greatest long-term savings and allow you to take advantage of valuable incentives. Leases and PPAs can offer a quick and easy path to solar, but you’ll miss out on key benefits of ownership.

FAQs About Going Solar in Washington

Still have questions about going solar in Washington? Here are answers to some of the most common queries:

Is solar worth it in Washington’s climate?

Yes! While Washington may not be the sunniest state, it still receives plenty of sunlight to make solar a smart investment. With the state’s generous incentives and high electricity rates, most homeowners who go solar save tens of thousands of dollars over the life of their system.

Do solar panels increase home value in WA?

Absolutely. Studies have shown that solar panels can increase a home’s resale value by 3-4% on average. In Washington, where solar is increasingly popular, a quality solar installation can be a major selling point that helps your home stand out in a competitive market.

What size solar energy system do I need?

The ideal system size for your home will depend on several factors, including your energy usage, available roof space, and budget. Most Washington homeowners install 5-8 kW systems to offset a significant portion of their electricity needs. Your solar installer can help you determine the optimal size based on your specific situation.

How do I find the best solar companies near me?

To find top solar installers in your area, start by reading reviews and comparing quotes from multiple companies. Look for experienced, reputable installers with a proven track record of success and strong customer satisfaction ratings. You can also check industry websites like Solar Reviews or the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) for lists of trusted solar professionals in Washington.


As we’ve seen, going solar offers a wealth of benefits for Washington homeowners, from massive utility bill savings to a reduced carbon footprint. With the state’s abundant sunlight, solar-friendly policies, and generous incentives, there’s never been a better time to make the switch to clean, renewable energy.

By taking advantage of incentives like the 30% federal tax credit, state sales tax exemption, and net metering, you can significantly reduce the upfront cost of your solar installation and speed up your payback period. And with a variety of financing options available, including $0-down solar loans, going solar is more accessible than ever before.

Of course, choosing the right installer is key to maximizing your solar savings and ensuring a smooth, hassle-free experience. By comparing quotes and reviews from top solar companies in your area, you can find a trusted partner to help you navigate the process and unlock the full potential of your solar investment.

So if you’re ready to slash your electric billsboost your home value, and do your part for the environment, now is the time to explore solar for your Washington home. With the right system and installer, you can start enjoying the benefits of clean, affordable solar power for decades to come.

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