If you own a home in Washington and do not yet have solar power connected to your residence, there has never been a better time to consider installing panels on your property.
As the seat of Government, the state has always been keen on setting the pace on climate protection through the use of renewable sources of energy, as demonstrated by the setting of a statewide RPS (Renewable Portfolio Standard) of 15% in 2006. An RPS is a law that sets a target for the use of clean energy in a State.
As of early 2006, Washington had already laid down the law that envisioned that 15% of residents should be using renewable energy sources like solar power by 2020.
So how does the state propose to entice homeowners to rely more on solar energy? Since the enactment of the RPS in 2006, the state has put forth enviable incentives for both homeowners and solar products manufacturers.
Below, we will discuss some of the incentives put in place by the authorities for solar energy users.
Solar Rights for Homeowners
Solar panels need access to sunlight to produce electricity. As a homeowner committed to using renewable energy sources like solar power, Washington has excellent solar easement laws.
These laws allow you to talk with your immediate neighbours and develop a way to ensure that your panels are never shaded when there is sunlight.
Additionally, under the Washington Solar Rights Law, you have a right to put solar panels on your property no matter your borough of residence in the state. Under this law, it is illegal for even homeowners’ associations to prohibit a homeowner from installing solar panels.
Net Metering in Washington
Given that weather can be dull sometimes, you may be afraid of installing solar panels in Washington in fear of what will happen when it is persistently cloudy for days.
It is, however, important to remember that you do not have to disconnect from the grid just because you have panels on your property. Unless you have backup batteries in your property, it is best to remain connected to the grid even when you have access to solar energy.
If the solar panels you have installed in your Washington home happen to be producing more electricity than you can consume, then the net metering system was made for someone like you.
Under this system, you can send back any extra electricity produced by your panels to the Washington grid and, and in turn, receive credits.
If your panels do not produce enough electricity and you are forced to rely on grid power, you can use the credits that you earned to pay for the electricity you consume instead of paying your utility bill in cash.
The Renewable Energy System Incentive Program
To encourage more homeowners to use solar energy as from February 2020, the state enacted an incentive program that targets both property sellers and buyers. Under this program, you can receive an incentive payment for the electricity produced by solar panels in your home.
As a property seller, the payment incentive offered by the state will cover the period that you owned the home from the fiscal year that starts on 1st July. As a property owner who installs solar panels in your home, you can apply for and receive your incentive payment for eight years or until you have recovered 50% of the amount that you spent installing panels in your home (whichever comes first).
It is also worth noting that this program targets Washington residents who have installed residential and commercial solar panels.
Under this program, solar panels producing 1 kW to 12 kW are considered residential solar systems. For this type of solar systems, the incentive is capped at $5,000 per fiscal year.
On the other hand, solar panels that produce above 12 kW are considered commercial solar installations unless they have been installed as a community project. This incentive for commercial solar systems is capped at $25,000 per fiscal year.
Note that participation in this incentive program is voluntary. To start earning incentive payments, you must first register your property and then your solar system must be inspected and certified.
The Federal Solar Tax Credit Program
As a Washington resident, you may also be eligible for the Federal Solar Tax Credit Program, which can lower the cost of acquiring your solar system by as much as 26%.
It is, however, worth mentioning that to be eligible for this tax credit program, you must have attained a level of income that will make the tax credit you are awarded meaningful.
Further, you must also be purchasing a solar system for the first time, and the acquisition must either be done through a loan or in cash.
Though this program has been in place for several years and the terms have never changed, pundits in the energy sector opine that with the new administration that recently settled in the White House, the terms may be amended to become more favorable.
As you can see, Washington is keen on meeting the goals it has set on using renewable energy like solar power through the incentives offered to homeowners.
Suppose you are keen on protecting the environment, climate and the planet at large while at the same time saving some money. In that case, you should think about installing solar panels in your home since Washington solar panel laws encourage it.