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Washington State Solar Incentives

Federal Tax Credit

A taxpayer may claim a credit for qualified expenditures for a system that serves a dwelling unit located in the United States that is owned and used as a residence by the taxpayer. Expenditures with respect to the equipment are treated as made when the installation is completed. If the installation is at a new home, the “placed in service” date is the date of occupancy by the homeowner. Expenditures include labor costs for on-site preparation, assembly or original system installation, and for piping or wiring to interconnect a system to the home. If the federal tax credit exceeds tax liability, the excess amount may be carried forward to the succeeding taxable year.

  • 30% for systems placed in service by Dec 31, 2019
  • 26% for systems placed in service from Jan 1, 2020 through Dec 31, 2020
  • 22% for systems placed in service after Jan 1, 2021 through Dec 31, 2021
  • The home served by the system does not have to be the taxpayer’s principal residence.

How to Apply for Solar Tax Credits

  • Fill out IRS Form 5695 and submit it with your annual federal taxes.
  • Add credit from Form 5695 on residential energy credit line of Form 1040.
  • Save all project receipts.

Washington State Sales Tax Exemption

From July 1, 2019, through Dec 31, 2029, you do not have to pay sales or use tax on purchases of machinery and equipment used to generate at least 1 kilowatt (kW), but no more than 100 kW, AC of electricity using solar energy. You also do not have to pay sales or use tax on labor charges for equipment installation from qualified businesses in Washington. Installation must begin no earlier than July 1, 2019, and be completed by Dec 31, 2029 to qualify for the sales and use tax exemption for labor charges.

For more details, visit the Department of Revenue resource for Renewable Energy Incentives, under Machinery & equipment used to generate electricity using renewable energy & solar thermal heat systems – sales/use tax exemption.

Net Metering

Utility customers who generate their own electricity and are connected to the utility’s distribution grid offset electricity that would otherwise be purchased from the utility. There may be times when the customer’s system generates more electricity than the home needs during the day, week or month. In these cases, a credit is issued to the customer’s account for the excess power, which can be used during the following month(s) until the annual true-up. In other words, the customer will only pay for the energy that the utility provides.

Benefits of Net Metering:

  • Creates a reduction in electricity bills.
  • Ensures that the customer’s system is connected to the utility’s grid, so even during cloudy days, there is always a dependable source of electricity without needing batteries.
  • Your participating utility credits you at retail rate for power, so as the price of power goes up, the value of your net metered solar increases as well.

For further details, visit the Database of State Incentives for Renewables & Efficiency.

State Production Incentive

Incentive availability varies by utility provider.  Western Solar Inc is a pre-authorized solar contractor with Puget Sound Energy, Snohomish PUD, Seattle City Light, and City of Bellevue.

Solar owners receive the same, fixed production incentive rate for a program term of 8 years, or until 50% of system cost is recouped, whichever comes first. Starting incentive rates step down over time, and stay fixed for the project’s program term.

Residential
(12kW or smaller)
Commercial
(greater than 12kW)
Made in WA Non-Made in WA Made in WA Non-Made in WA
July 1, 2018
to June 30, 2019
$.18/kWh $.14/kWh $.08/kWh $.04/kWh
July 1, 2019
to June 30, 2020
$.15/kWh $.12/kWh $.05/kWh $.03/kWh
July 1, 2020
to June 30, 2021
$.12/kWh $.10/kWh $.04/kWh $.02/kWh

Legacy State Production Incentive (Closed September 30, 2017)

The Washington Production Incentive is paid by the utility for everything that is produced by the solar system.  The credit ranges from $0.15 to $0.54 for every kilowatt hour (kWh) produced, which is determined by how much of the equipment is manufactured in Washington State.

The 2017 Solar Jobs Bill locks in payout rates at the same rate paid by the utility during fiscal year 2016 and pays solar owners a set amount per kilowatt-hour for production until June 30, 2020.

Incentive rates vary by utility.