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Solar Panel Cost in Washington 2024



Washington is quickly becoming a go-to place for solar energy, and you can see it almost everywhere in the neighborhood. At around $3.00 per watt, installing solar panels is getting more attractive for people here. This growing interest is driven by supportive state policies, a big drop in solar prices over the past ten years, and various incentives that make going solar both affordable and sustainable.


Current State of Solar in Washington


Washington annual solar installation
source: SEIA

In 2024, Washington's solar capacity hit 682 MW, moving the state up to 33rd place nationally, an improvement from 37th in 2023. This amount of solar power can supply energy to about 70,241 homes, even though it still makes up only 0.87% of the state’s total electricity. Washington's dedication to solar energy is clear in its workforce, which includes 4,107 solar jobs and 142 solar companies, covering 30 manufacturers, 59 installers/developers, and 53 other related businesses. So far, Washington has invested $1.7 billion in solar, with prices falling by 47% over the last decade.


Key Takeaways 

  • Solar panels cost about $3.00 per watt in Washington for 2024, with a 5 kW system averaging $10,500 after the federal tax credit.

  • State incentives, including the 30% federal tax credit, significantly lower installation costs.

  • Various financing options like solar loans, solar leases and PPAs are available to help you fund your solar installation. 


Solar Panel Cost in Washington 2024

In 2024, the average cost of installing solar panels in Washington is about $3.00 per watt. This means for a typical 5 kW system, you're looking at around $15,000 before any incentives. However, with the federal solar tax credit, the cost drops significantly, bringing the average down to about $10,500. 


Average Cost by System Size in Washington 

The size of your solar system directly impacts the total cost. Larger systems are more expensive but can generate more electricity, potentially offsetting your entire electricity bill and providing better savings over time. Here's a breakdown of the average cost for different sizes:

System Size 

Average Cost 

Average Cost (after federal tax credit)

3kW

$9,000

$6,300

5kW

$15,000

$10,500

7kW

$21,000

$14,700

9kW

$27,000

$18,900

11kW

$33,000

$23,100


Factors that Influence Your Solar Panel Cost

Several factors can influence the price you pay for solar panels. The main ones include:

  • System Size: Larger systems cost more upfront but offer greater long-term savings. The size of the system you need depends on your household's energy consumption.

  • Equipment Quality: Higher efficiency panels and premium inverters generally cost more but can generate more electricity and offer better durability.

  • Installation Complexity: The more complex your installation (think roof type and angle, or if ground mounts are necessary), the higher the labor costs.

  • Local Market Conditions: Prices can also vary based on local demand, the number of installers in your area, and regional solar incentives.


How Can You Reduce Your Solar Panel Cost in Washington?


Federal Tax Credits and Incentives

One of the most significant incentives for solar panel installation is the Residential Clean Energy Credit, previously known as the federal investment tax credit (ITC). This credit allows you to deduct 30% of the cost of installing a solar energy system from your federal taxes. This includes the cost of equipment, labor, permitting, and sales tax. For example, if your solar installation costs $15,000, you can reduce your federal tax bill by $4,500.


State-Specific Solar Incentives

Washington state offers several incentives to encourage solar adoption. One key benefit is the Washington State Solar Sales Tax Exemption, which provides a 100% exemption from sales tax on all solar equipment purchases. This can save you approximately 6.5% on the cost of your solar panels, inverters, and other necessary components.  


Local Rebates 

Local utilities in Washington often provide additional incentives. For example, various utility companies offer rebates for solar installations, which can significantly reduce upfront costs. It’s essential to check with your local utility provider to see what specific rebates and discounts are available in your area.


Net Metering

Under Washington’s net metering program, any excess electricity your solar panels produce can be fed back into the grid, and you’ll receive credits on your electricity bill. This means during sunny months when your panels generate more electricity than you use, you can offset the cost of electricity in less sunny months, effectively reducing your overall energy costs.


Long-Term Savings and ROI

Your return on investment (ROI) for your solar panels depends on the initial costs, ongoing maintenance, and the savings from reduced electricity bills. 


Energy prices have a direct impact on your solar investment's ROI. In Washington, while the cost per kilowatt-hour (kWh) is relatively low compared to the national average, the state's electricity consumption is higher, which balances out the cost-benefit ratio. As energy prices continue to rise, the financial advantage of solar increases. The higher your local electricity rates, the greater your savings with solar panels. This is because the cost of solar power remains stable once the system is installed, effectively locking in your energy costs at a rate that is immune to market fluctuations.


By installing solar panels, you're not only reducing your dependence on grid electricity but also hedging against future electricity price hikes. Over the lifetime of your solar system, this can translate to significant financial savings and a shorter payback period, enhancing your overall ROI.


How Can You Finance Your Solar Investment in Washington?

  • Cash Purchase: Paying for your solar system upfront with cash is the simplest option. This method offers the highest long-term savings since you won't be paying any interest on loans. Plus, you can take full advantage of the federal tax credit immediately.

  • Solar Loans: If paying upfront isn't feasible, a solar loan can help. These loans allow you to spread the cost over several years, making solar more affordable. Some loans even offer $0 down payment options. The interest rates vary, so shop around for the best terms.

  • Solar Leases: With a solar lease, you don't own the system. Instead, you pay a fixed monthly amount to use the solar panels installed on your home. This option typically involves lower upfront costs but can result in lower overall savings compared to owning your system.

  • Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs): A PPA is similar to a lease, but instead of paying to lease the panels, you pay for the electricity the panels generate. This can be an attractive option if you're looking to avoid any upfront costs. However, the savings might be less than if you owned the system.

  • Home Equity Loans: Using a home equity loan allows you to borrow against the value of your home. These loans often come with lower interest rates compared to other financing options, and the interest might be tax-deductible. 


If you're a resident of Washington and considering solar, you can take advantage of the available incentives which significantly reduce the cost of installing your solar panels and in turn, maximize your return on investment. Now is a great time to get a free detailed estimate from us to see how much you can save.


FAQ


How much do solar panels cost in Washington in 2024?

In 2024, the average cost of installing solar panels in Washington is approximately $3.00 per watt. This means a standard 5 kW system costs around $15,000 before incentives and about $10,500 after applying the federal tax credit.

What are the main factors that influence solar panel prices?

What incentives are available for solar panel installation in Washington


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