Solar electric systems are now more affordable than ever. The Pacific Northwest has some of the best incentives in the country, but they won’t last forever, so now is the time to take advantage of them!
Residential and Commercial Solar qualify for a 30% federal income tax credit. This is a credit, not a deduction, so roughly 1/3 of your system cost will come back to you in the first year. This is huge!
Commercial solar is also eligible to be depreciated on a MACRS 5-year schedule (Modified Accelerated Cost Recovery System), with a potential bonus depreciation in year one. Being able to depreciate a 25+ year lifespan asset over five years equates to large tax benefits for your business!
Most homes do not pay any sales tax on their solar installation, as any system under 10KW is 100% sales tax exempt. For a system larger than 10KW, there is still a 75% sales tax rebate on the total sales tax paid on the system. Either way, more of your investment goes straight to your solar. This exemption is close to a 10% savings.
WA State is a net-metering state. This means that the utility meter will continue to spin forward anytime you are using electricity from the grid. But, if the solar array produces more solar energy than can be used in that moment, the meter will actually spin backward! You are credited at the retail rate of electricity, your neighbors will use the electricity you supply to the grid (it stays local!), and the utility will only bill for the net amount on the meter at the end of the month.
Energy savings alone make the investment in solar a sound decision. When you install solar, you are installing a power source on your roof (or property) that you own. You never pay for energy you produce, and you will never be charged a rate increase either. Owning a power source, versus “renting” from the grid, is a smarter way to get your electric needs met. Solar panels will last 30+ years. Most homes in WA are able to cut their bill from 30% to 100% of their home’s electric needs!
In addition to incentives outlined above, Washington State also has a bonus incentive payment for solar customers. This is an annual payment made to the customer every year between now and June 30, 2020, for their solar generation. The state will pay you for every kWh your system produces, even if you use the energy in your home or building! These payments only help to further offset the amount you invest in your solar installation.
The rate you will be paid for your solar energy production can vary depending on your utility company. The range is between $.10 per kWh to $.54 per kWh. Feel free to contact SolTerra to find out more information specific to your utility.
Some local utilities have additional incentives for installing solar. For example, Snohomish PUD will either give a $300 per KW rebate up to $2000 for residential solar and up to $10,000 for commercial solar for qualifying installations.
Worried about the upfront cost? There’s no need for concern because you can install solar for zero down and low monthly payments, which minimizes the impact going solar has on your monthly budget.
There are several great low interest solar loan options available to our customers. Puget Sound Cooperative Credit Union, Umpqua Bank and Generations Credit Union each have great solar specific loan programs.
Ask your solar design consultant about which option would be best for you.
SolTerra also offers solar installation services to the Portland Metro area. If you live in Portland, you can take advantage of the federal tax incentives, as well as a state income tax credit. Depending on your utility, you can get an instant rebate from the Energy Trust of Oregon. The rates vary depending on your utility, and they change often. Contact us for the specifics.
The more you spend on electricity, the more we can save you.