All You Need to Know About Solar Panel Installations in Vancouver, WA
If you’re looking to lower the electricity bill for your home or business, a solar panel installation in Vancouver, Washington is the best way to do it. Solar power is a clean, renewable energy source that can save you money in the long run.
Once installed, a solar system will generate free electricity every day the sun shines. The energy created by the solar panels will reduce your monthly electric bills or even eliminate them completely. Many of the Utility companies in Washington have very favorable Net-Metering programs which allow you to send power to the grid during the day and summer times when solar production is high and then pull from the grid at night and during the winter months when solar production is low.
The state government of Washington also offers sales tax incentives to encourage property owners to install solar panels. Combine that with the Federal incentives, and the actual cost of installing solar becomes very affordable. (Read More: What Solar Incentives are Available in Washington state?)
Over time, installing a solar power system will pay for itself in reduced electric bills, not to mention the increased property value. The initial costs of solar panels may seem substantial at first, but once you dive into the long-term benefits, you can see how solar is worth it.
Each home and business, however is different, and not every structure is set up well for a solar system. That being said, it’s best to consult a professional to see if solar makes sense for your particular home or business.
Is Solar Worth It for my House in Vancouver, Washington?
Solar power is increasingly affordable for people all across the United States. The city of Vancouver, WA, is no exception. There is a common perception that solar only works in places with year-round sunshine, but with our long summer days and cooler climates, solar actually works great in Southwest Washington!
Solar Technology has also improved quite a bit. Current solar technology, through the use of microinverters, allows solar panels to operate at about 80% of their maximum capacity on cloudy days. This is partially due to the architecture of the Photovoltaic cell as well as the microinverters, which use Maximum Power Point Tracking (MPPT) to optimize each individual solar panel.
Rain Actually Helps Solar in the Pacific Northwest
The rain we get also helps keep the solar panels clean, clearing up dust and enabling them to work better on sunny days. In most states, soiling, the effect of dust build-up on solar panels, can reduce production by as much as 10%. Here in the Pacific Northwest, we don’t have to worry about that as much.
The average home in Vancouver will consume about 1,000 kWh/month (or about 33.3 kWh/day). This amount of energy is easily produced by a typical solar installation. Meaning that most homes can completely cancel out their electric bill with the amount of solar energy that’s already hitting their roof.
The main factor that can change most of this is shading. Having some trees on your property is fine, but a lot of trees can greatly reduce the amount of sunlight that hits your roof. Especially in the winter months when the sun is low in the sky.
Another factor that can determine whether or not your home is good for solar is the structure on which it’s built. It’s best to have a roof that’s in good conduction with at least ten years of life left in it. Additionally, you’d want to make sure that your existing framing structure can support the additional weight. All new homes constructed with Engineered Trusses are already set up to handle the additional 2.5 lbs per square foot that solar adds. However, older homes that are stick framed often have to be evaluated for structural integrity.
Having a professional evaluate the shading on your property, as well as your roof and structure, is the first step in deciding whether solar is worth it for your home or not.
Vancouver, WA Solar Incentives
The state government of Washington offers sales tax incentives, net metering benefits, and more to encourage property owners to install solar panels, making the cost of installation affordable.
Sales Tax Exemption on Solar Energy
Washington State offers a solar sales tax exemption. This state incentive exempts those buying solar panels from sales tax when purchasing their system.
The solar sales tax exemption covers one hundred percent (100%) of sales tax on systems of 100 kWh or less. Larger systems are exempt from fifty percent (50%) of sales tax. Most residential systems will fall far below the 100 kWh limit, with most systems being 5-10 kWh.
This solar incentive saves thousands of dollars off of the purchase price of solar systems. Systems of 5 kWh can save around two thousand or more dollars ($2000+) through this solar sales tax exemption.
Federal Investment Tax Credit (ITC)
One of the best-known solar incentives is the federal investment tax credit. The federal tax credits refund up to twenty-six percent (26%) of the cost of the solar system. Click here to learn more.
Instead of a discount or rebate, the ITC is to be claimed on federal income tax documents, reducing your tax liability. It provides a one-to-one credit on taxes owed or paid in the tax year that the system is installed.
WA Net Metering
Washington state net metering is an incentive provided by the Utility that allows owners of solar systems to store their unused energy for free and then use it when they need it most, like during the night or winter when solar production is low. Excess energy generated by a solar power system is sent to the grid for later use. With most Utilities in Washington, the surplus energy is returned to you at a one-to-one ratio.
How Much Does Solar Cost in Vancouver, WA?
On average, solar panel installation in Vancouver, WA, costs about $20,000 to $40,000 before incentives and $15,000 to $30,000 after Washington state solar incentives are applied. However, solar panel costs can easily be financed into low monthly payments. The ideal scenario is when the solar system that you install cancels out your entire monthly electricity bill. You then use that savings to finance the cost of the system.
Commercial Solar Installations Vancouver, WA
Have a business in Vancouver? There are many things to consider before installing a commercial solar system. In general, commercial solar panels are more complicated to install than residential systems, making it all the more important to get professional help. Issues to consider include:
- Installation requires ownership. If you do not own the building, you will need permission from the owner before beginning solar panel installation.
- A potential installation is also affected by how much energy the commercial building uses.
- There are incentives available specifically set up for businesses and commercial buildings, such as MACRS Accelerated Depreciation.
- Consider how the solar power system will integrate into the building’s existing power structure. Some commercial buildings will require additional safety measures to be put into place before the solar panels can be installed.
Working With Power Northwest in Vancouver, WA
Power Northwest is a trusted and professional solar company in Vancouver, Washington. We offer online resources for those looking into solar.
When getting solar panels installed, hiring a trusted solar company can make the process easier. Schedule a free consultation below.