Washington State recently announced major changes to their solar incentive programs that will go into effect this October. While some incentives have been discontinued, new incentives may make going solar an even more attractive opportunity for your home. We’ve broken down this new status to show you exactly how much you can save by going solar.
The incentives available include:
- The Production Incentive & Made in Washington Incentive
- Federal Solar Investment Tax Credit
- Net Energy Metering
The Production Incentive & Made in Washington Bonus
The Production Incentive is an annual payment based upon the total kilowatt hours (kWh) produced by a solar PV system to a maximum payment of $5,000 annually. The incentive amount starts at $0.16 per kWh, and an additional incentive of $0.05/kWh is offered for systems with modules manufactured in Washington. These incentive payments will continue for 8 years or until 50% of the gross system cost (including sales tax) is covered, whichever comes first.
Our recent customer, David C., went solar with an 8 kW system that came to $29,151 with sales tax included. Because David’s panels were made in Washington, he receives an incentive of $0.21/kWh. His system produces around 10,000 kWh annually, bringing his production incentive to $2,100 per year until 50% of his gross system cost is met at $14,576.
Incentive rates are scheduled to decline $0.02/kWh at the end of every fiscal year, which equates to around $1,600 over the course of the payments. The next rate drop occurs in June 2018, so be sure to carefully review your solar proposals before then! You can get more information on the incentive program and the rates in coming years here.
Federal Investment Tax Credit
Like homeowners all around the country, solar customers in Washington can benefit from the federal Investment Tax Credit (ITC), which is valued at 30% of gross solar system cost. David received a tax credit of $8,745 thanks to the ITC, reducing the cost of his system to just over $20,000 before other incentives. After the Production Incentive, Made in WA bonus, and the ITC are considered, David’s net system cost came in at $5,830 - just 20% of the gross system cost. Beginning in 2020, the ITC will begin declining - find all the details here.
Net Energy Metering
For many PV system owners, net energy metering (NEM) is one of the many ways to decrease the cost of electricity in the long run. With NEM, net excess energy production is sold back to the grid at the the rate that the utility pays for its energy from wholesale electricity generators. Net metering is a great way to capitalize on the production capability of your system, and can even reduce your energy bill to $0.
Thanks to NEM, David saved $1,080 on his electric bill last year, and annual savings are expected to increase as utility rates rise. These savings will surpass the net price he paid for his system in around 6 years. This is known as the Payback Period.
How Much Would You Save?
Thanks to the ITC and Washington’s statewide incentives, David saved a whopping $25,291 on his solar system. When net metering and electric bill savings are considered, David will break even in around 6 years, and in 25 years he will have saved over $45,000 in utility costs thanks to his solar system. These savings are some of the best in the country, and with the fantastic incentives available in Washington right now they could be possible for your home as well. Check out our calculator to learn just how much you could save in Washington.