As the push for renewable energy grows stronger, cities across the country are implementing policies to encourage the adoption of solar energy. Seattle is no exception. Known for its environmental awareness, the city has enacted several policies to support solar energy adoption. This article outlines the key solar energy policies in Seattle, providing everything you need to know to tap into the city’s solar potential.
Net Metering in Seattle
Net metering is a billing mechanism that credits solar energy system owners for the electricity they add to the grid. In Seattle, the net metering policy allows homeowners to “store” excess electricity their solar panels produce on the grid, essentially using the grid as a giant battery.
At night or during cloudy days, when your solar panels aren’t producing as much electricity, you can pull electricity from the grid, using up the credits you’ve earned. Seattle City Light, the city’s electric utility, offers net metering to customers with solar energy systems up to 100 kilowatts in size.
Solar and Renewable Energy Credits
In addition to net metering, the state of Washington also had a production incentive program, known as the Renewable Energy System Incentive Program (RESIP). This program, which ended in 2021, rewarded homeowners for each kilowatt-hour of electricity their solar panels generated.
While RESIP is no longer accepting new applications, homeowners who enrolled before its conclusion are still eligible to receive annual payments through 2029. Seattle homeowners interested in solar should keep an eye out for any new incentive programs that may replace RESIP in the future.
Sales Tax Exemption
Solar energy systems in Washington State are exempt from sales tax. This exemption applies to systems up to 100 kilowatts in size, providing a significant saving for homeowners, as the state sales tax rate is 6.5%, and the total can reach as high as 10.4% when local taxes are added.
Interconnection standards dictate how solar energy systems can be connected to the grid. In Washington State, small solar energy systems (up to 20 kilowatts) have a simplified interconnection process, making it easier for homeowners to get their systems up and running. The state also requires utilities to offer net metering and has protections in place to prevent discriminatory rates or fees for solar customers.
Seattle’s solar energy policies make it easier and more financially viable for homeowners to install solar panels. From net metering to sales tax exemptions, these policies reduce the cost and complexity of going solar. By understanding and taking advantage of these policies, you can maximize the benefits of your solar investment and contribute to Seattle’s transition to renewable energy.