Renewable Portfolio Standards
Washington set itself a goal of 15% renewable energy production by 2020. Renewable Portfolio Standards (RPS) dictate how much of a state’s total energy needs must be met by renewable sources. Utility companies pay fees if they miss the deadline, motivating them to offer deals.
Washington state has great net metering laws. Net metering is a system in which solar panels or other renewable energy generators are connected to the public utility, allowing customers to offset the cost of the power they get from the utility with credits they earn from their own system. When your system produces more power than you need, you sell the excess power to the grid, which you see as a credit on your electric bill.
Interconnection standards are requirements for connecting solar and other electrical generation systems to the grid. Washington’s standards are statewide. They make installation easier and usually less expensive, and net metering is more reliable too.
Performance-Based Incentives (PBI)
PBIs are incentives based on the actual power your system generates. Washington has them! Washington calls them Solar Power Performance Payments. You are paid based on the actual kilowatt-hours (kWh) or BTUs generated by your renewal-energy system, as confirmed by the meter. The power produced is credited as Solar Renewable Energy Credits (SRECs), the value of which fluctuates by the rule of supply and demand.
Rebates are not offered in all of Washington, only to homeowners served by Snohomish County PUD.
Sales Tax Exemption
Pay no sales tax on the cost of an installed solar power system in Washington.
Federal Tax Credit
In addition to these great rebates and exemptions for you living in Washington, you also qualify for the great tax credit from the Federal government. The Investment Tax Credit (ITC) is now worth 26 percent of the system cost, and will be deducted from your Federal income tax. The credit goes to those who buy their system (cash or loan), not to those who lease. If you lease a system, then all of the incentives go to the third-party owner. That’s a great reason to buy rather than lease.