Incentives for Solar Energy
Federal Incentive: Income Tax Credit (Investment Tax Credit or ITC) for Solar Energy
In 2021 and 2022, a federal income tax credit is available for 26% of the total cost of purchase and installation (including sales tax) of a solar photovoltaic system provided the solar system owner has sufficient tax liability. This tax credit is a dollar-for-dollar reduction in taxes owed and can be used by either individuals or businesses. Consult your tax adviser to learn how this tax policy affects you.
Unless Congress changes the law again, in 2023, the residential tax credit steps down to 22% and drops lower in subsequent years.
There is no upper limit on the value of this tax credit. It can be used more than once if you are installing solar in a subsequent year provided you meet all other qualifications.
State Incentives: Sales Tax Exemption or Rebate
Renewable Energy System Incentive Program (RESIP) – no longer accepting applicants – RESIP was enacted by the Washington State Legislature in July 2017 as the Solar Jobs Bill, SB 5939. Although RESIP was designed to help consumers go solar over a 4 year period (2018 through 2021), it was so popular that state funds were obligated before the end of the second year. It is no longer accepting applications. Contact WSU Energy Program if you have questions. If your solar system was certified to receive the RESIP incentive, this page explains how it works.
Utility Incentive: Net Metering
When you go solar, your electric bill is immediately reduced because you pull less electricity from the grid. Additionally, whenever your system generates more electricity than you are using at that moment, your excess power automatically feeds back into the grid – in essence spinning your meter backwards. The kilowatt hours (kWh) are credited to your bill for later use, for instance in winter, further contributing to your Electric Bill Savings. When you end the month with excess kWh, the credits are reported to you on your bill. Credits roll over month to month but not year to year. Credits zero out on March 31 annually, then a new net metering year begins. This date aligns well with Washington’s solar generation, so that you can make the most of solar electricity generated in April.
Net Metering is designed to allow customers to generate electricity to offset up to 100% of what they use over one year, but net metering does not offset the utility’s monthly minimum or base rate. Learn more by going to your utility’s website and search for “net metering” or “customer generation.” Some large utilities are PSE, Seattle City Light, Snopud, Pacific Power, Tacoma Power, Avista.
In Washington, Net Metering is a one-for-one credit for each kilowatt hour when total solar system capacity is between 1 kW to 100 kW. Utilities are not required to offer Net Metering to additional customers once their minimum obligation is met so customers should check first with their utility to find out if net metering is available to you. Net Metering is an agreement between a utility and their customer, so be sure to get a copy of that agreement.
NWES facilitates approval of your solar system by your utility’s net metering program by providing the detailed interconnection application and electrical one-line drawing to meet your utility’s standards and requirements. And of course, we install to meet electrical code and building code standards.
Curious what solar can do for you? Get an estimate today!