Though Washington is an eco-friendly state, it ranks 31st in the number of solar panel systems installed in the country, according to the Solar Energy Industries Association. This is likely because the state only has 58 clear days during the year. However, even in Washington, using solar panels can still benefit homeowners and businesses.

Washington’s Solar
Report Card


To determine a grade for each state, our researchers and solar experts analyzed data on crucial solar-advancement criteria from the following sources:

We determined a rank from one to 10 for each state in each category. We then combined the scores with the following weights and assigned an overall grade for each state. Our goal is to encourage those considering solar for their homes to get a basic understanding of solar potential in their areas and discover the best opportunities for clean energy available.

Incentives & Rebates, 40%

Electricity Rate, 15%

Renewable Energy Policy, 30%

Interconnection Ease, 5%

Photovoltaic Potential, 10%

How Expensive is Electricity in Washington?

Washington residents can feel good about where they live when it comes to electricity. Powering their homes and businesses costs relatively little since the majority of their energy comes primarily from hydroelectric power which has low operating costs. In 2018, the average retail cost of electricity in Washington was the third-lowest in the nation, with residential customers paying less than $0.10 per kWh and commercial customers paying less than $0.09 per kWh. And the price of electricity hasn’t changed much over the years with Washington consistently being one of the top U.S. producers of hydroelectric power.

Cost of Residential Electricity

Data from U.S. Energy Information Administration
*as of Q3 2015

Library of Resources

Washington Solar Policies & Incentives

Financial incentives help to encourage residents and businesses to convert to solar power. The state ranks low for the number of solar panels installed and much of the state relies on other renewable energy sources. There are few state incentives, however federal tax credits do exist. The Renewable Energy Sales and Use Tax Exemption allows for both commercial and residential to be exempt from sales tax on a solar system generating 10 kW or less as well as solar thermal systems. Many utility companies also offer loans, rebates and other financial assistance for those going solar.


None for residential/commercial specifically

Renewable Energy Cost Recovery Incentive Payment

This incentive, paid to the PV producer, starts at a base rate of 15 cents per kWh and is adjusted by multiplying the incentive by a set of factors. This incentive applies to both single-owned systems and community solar projects.

Solar Energy Equipment Loan

Clark Public Utilities offers financing to its customers for the purchase and installation of residential solar equipment. Loans up to $30,000 are available for solar photovoltaic (PV) systems.

None for commercial specifically


Solar Easements & Rights Laws

Washington law does not create an automatic right to sunlight but allows parties to enter into solar easement contracts voluntarily for the purpose of ensuring adequate exposure of a solar energy system.

Net Metering

Washington’s net-metering law is first-come, first-served and applies to systems up to 100kW in capacity that generate solar electricity. All customer classes are eligible, and all utilities must offer net metering.

Interconnection Standards

Washington interconnection standards apply to the state’s investor-owned utilities (Avista, PacifiCorp, and Puget Sound Energy), but not municipal utilities, public utility districts or cooperative electric utilities. The standards provide for three separate levels of interconnection based on system capacity and other requirements.

Renewables Portfolio Standard

In 2006, Washington passed a renewable energy standard by ballot initiative. The RPS requires electric utilities that serve more than 25,000 customers to get 15 percent of their electricity from new renewable resources by 2020 and to undertake all cost-effective energy conservation.

Residential Solar Permitting Requirements

Washington’s State Building Code has requirements for the installation, inspection, maintenance, and repair of solar PV energy systems. PV installations that meet standard requirements are exempt from the roof covering specifications in the code. See the full list of standard requirements.

None for commercial specifically



Renewable Energy Sales and Use Tax Exemption

Solar energy systems of 10kW or less are eligible for a 100 percent exemption from sales and use tax in Washington. Purchasers of these systems can show the seller an exemption certificate to avoid paying the sales and use tax.



Solar Companies, Contractors & Installers in Washington

A number of solar companies help to serve the state of Washington and its surrounding area.

A&R Solar

This employee-owned corporation specializes in solar installations throughout the state of Washington and in the greater Portland area.

Where it operatesSeattle, WA

Year of opening

BNL Tech

BNL provides energy services, abatement, remediation, restoration and geospatial solutions.

Where it operatesRichland, WA

Year of opening1999

Itek Energy

Itek builds and manufactures solar photovoltaic modules.

Where it operatesBellingham, WA

Year of opening2012

Olympic Energy Systems

Located on the North Olympic Peninsula, this energy consulting firm provides solar electric, solar hot water, wind power, hydropower, and other renewable energy systems.

Where it operatesPort Townsend, WA

Year of opening2001

Puget Sound Solar

Puget Sound Solar designs, installs, and services solar electric systems and solar water heating systems.

Where it operatesSeattle, WA

Year of opening2001

Sunbridge Solar

Operating in both Oregon and Washington, Sunbridge has an emphasis on designing and installing solar arrays for residential and agricultural projects.

Where it operatesVancouver, WA

Year of opening2010

Sunergy Systems

Sunergy Systems provides full-service solar design and installation in the Seattle area. It is an employee-owned company.

Where it operatesSeattle, WA

Year of opening2005

Whidbey Sun & Wind

Whidbey offers a wide range of renewable energy solutions to residents of the northern Puget Sound region.

Where it operatesCoupeville, WA

Year of opening2000

Washington Solar Panel Resources

For Washington residents who are looking for more information, we have a list of resources.

DSIRE Incentives Database – Washington

Search through the Database of State Incentives for Renewables and Efficiency which lists all the incentives Washington residents qualify for when going solar.

Solar Installers of Washington

Explore this professional trade association, formed in 2013 and designed to be a unified voice for its members, improving business conditions and advocating for public policy.

Solar Washington

Learn more to help promote the development and use of solar and other renewable energy sources. This non-profit group supports legislation to help expand the use of solar in the state’s energy supply in an effort to broaden the job market and clean energy use.

U.S. Energy Information Administration – Washington

Find out more information about energy in the state of Washington, including consumption ranking, prices, and production information.

Washington State Legislature

Track new bills and legislation that involve solar power and other green resources.