2024 Solar Panels Washington State Guide

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      Solar Panels Washington State 101

      Despite being known for rain, Washington is actually an excellent state for solar energy systems. Washington has some of the best solar incentives in the country, and the long sunny summer days mean that solar energy is actually very practical.

      In this article, we’ll take a look at how solar in Washington state actually works, how a home solar energy system can benefit you, and how many panels you might need to install.

      How Does Solar in Washington state Work?

      There are actually two different types of solar panels: photovoltaic (PV), which produces solar electricity, and thermal, which produces heat. In this article, we will be focusing solely on photovoltaic panels.

      A solar panel is made up of many individual solar cells, which are grouped together into a frame to create one panel. On the roof of a house, there are often many panels connected together, which makes up a solar array. When that array is then connected to an inverter and then to your home’s wiring, it creates a solar energy system.

      Other elements that may be part of the system include battery banks, charge controllers, and so forth that allow you to store the energy your panels produce for later use.

      Basically, solar panels are made up of silicon layers with positively and negatively charged elements like phosphorus and boron embedded within, which create an electrical field. When photons from the sun’s rays hit the panels, electrons are knocked free from atoms within the panels, generating an electrical current.

      Grid-Tied Vs. Off-Grid Systems

      Most home solar projects will be grid-tied. This means that the home is already supplied with energy from a local utility company, and the solar energy system will be a supplemental power source that helps keep your monthly energy bills down and can potentially provide backup power during a grid outage.

      Since net metering is allowed in Washington, you can sell any excess energy that your solar panels produce back to the local utility grid in exchange for credit that can be used against your future energy bills. This can be a great way to take advantage of the long sunny days of Washington summers to produce as much electricity as possible and sell it to the grid so you can use the credits during the short, dark winter days.

      However, there are some instances where solar energy may be the only source. These systems are called stand-alone or off-grid systems because they do not connect to an existing power grid.

      These systems are designed to charge an on-site battery bank, which then provides electricity during the night or whenever the panels aren’t actively producing power. This type of system is generally used in very remote or rural settings where there is no existing grid, or connecting to the grid would be extremely difficult or expensive.

      Are Solar Panels efficient in WA?

      There are several factors that impact the efficiency of a solar panel. Let’s look at the four most important factors. They are:


       The amount of sunlight that hits the panel has an obvious impact on how much electricity will be produced. Naturally, the number of sunlight hours the panel receives each day will vary based on the season and the weather, since there are many more daylight hours and generally sunnier days in Washington summers, while the winter days are often short and dark. However, solar panels have advanced technology that allows them to produce energy even from indirect sunlight on overcast or cloudy days.


      The average temperature of the panel’s location also affects the efficiency. Solar panels actually become less efficient the hotter it is. Every different type of panel has a temperature coefficient rating that tells you what percentage of power generation loss you can expect for each degree Celsius above 25 degrees Celsius (77 degrees Fahrenheit).

      Luckily, Washington has a moderate climate for the most part, so your panel efficiency will not be too badly affected.

      Type of Solar Panel

      Different types of solar panels have different efficiency ratings straight from the manufacturer. Most panels are rated between 15-20%, although some newer panels are now rated as high as 22%. As the technology continues to improve, the percentage will only go up.

      Angle and Orientation

      The angle at which your solar panels are mounted has a big impact on how well they produce as well. Solar panels are most efficient when the sun hits them straight on, with the sunlight at a perpendicular 90-degree angle from the surface of the panels.

      Here in Washington state, we are quite far north relative to the equator, so even during the summer, panels should be angled around 30 degrees to the south for optimal efficiency, and angled even steeper in the winter. This is most often achieved by mounting solar panels on a south-facing pitched roof.

      How Many Solar Panels Do You Need?

      The number of solar panels you need to power your home varies based on the size of your household and the amount of electricity you consume. The best way to determine how many panels you need is to assess your electricity consumption at different times of the year and then find the average amount in kilowatts.

      Once you’ve found your ideal number of kilowatts, you can cross-reference that number with your roof’s space capacity for solar panels and the number of sunshine hours that the panels will receive throughout the day and year.

      Generally, each kilowatt worth of solar panels will require about 100 square feet of south-facing pitched roof space. As a point of reference, most residential solar energy systems are between 4 kW and 10 kW in order to offset the majority of the home’s consumption.

      Read More: How Do Solar Panels Work?

      100% Offset Using Just 13 To 33 Solar Panels

      Then decide how much of that energy consumption you can feasibly cover by analyzing your roof’s capacity for holding solar panels and the number of sunshine hours the panels will receive.

      In general, each kW of solar panels will require 100 square feet of south-facing roof space. Residential solar energy systems commonly range from about 4 kW to 10 kW to generate 100% of the home’s energy consumption or 13 to 33 solar panels to offset your consumption by 100%

      Are Solar Panels Worth It in Washington State?

      Solar panels are certainly worth the investment for many Washington residents. Let’s look at some advantages and disadvantages.


      Residential solar energy systems provide a renewable, clean source of electricity that can significantly reduce your carbon footprint and environmental impact. They can provide backup energy in the case of a grid outage, which can be lifesaving if you rely on electricity for medical equipment.

      Solar energy is becoming more affordable all the time, and there are many state, local, and federal incentives that help offset the initial investment costs. Solar panels generally have a lifespan of around 25 years and a standard home system can pay itself off in as little as 10-12 years, so you can then benefit financially from non-existent or very low energy bills for the remainder of the panels’ lifetime.


      The disadvantages of solar panels are generally insignificant. However, the only two potential drawbacks would be that they are expensive to install and can be unsightly on your roof. But, incentives can cut the cost of solar installations by 50% and solar panel manufacturers are coming out with sleeker and more unobtrusive panels all the time.

      Is It Worth Getting Cheap Or Free Solar Panels?

      Generally, no. High-quality solar panels will last much longer than cheap ones and they will be more efficient. Solar panels are getting more affordable each year and when you apply solar incentives, the initial investment can actually be quite reasonable, even for high-quality panels.

      There are many different solar incentives that you can take advantage of in Washington, including the Federal Investment Tax Credit that allows you to deduct 30% of the total solar panel installation cost from your federal tax liability, net metering, sales and use tax exemption, solar grants, and the Washington State Renewable Energy System Incentive. 

      List of Washington Solar Incentives Solar Incentives

      1. Federal Solar Tax Credit

      2. Sales Tax Exemption

      3. WA Net Energy Metering

      4. USDA REAP Grants for large solar farms

      Every family and company in Washington State, in our opinion, should have access to solar energy that is both clean and reasonably priced. Our devotion to our customers and passion to quality in all areas is what distinguishes us as a Washington solar installation.

      Our staff is made up of qualified and experienced solar experts that are enthusiastic about assisting our customers in making the move to solar. To design and install a solar panel system that suits each client’s particular energy requirements, financial situation, and property, we work directly with them. Our team of professionals is committed to giving our customers the finest solar solutions that are tailored to their unique requirements.

      In addition, we put a high priority on openness and honesty in all we do. We provide our customers thorough information about the advantages and disadvantages of solar energy and guide them through the numerous solar incentives that are offered. Additionally, we provide continuing assistance by keeping an eye on the functionality of their system, responding to their inquiries, and doing maintenance tasks.

      Overall, what distinguishes us is our consistent dedication to provide superior client care and premium solar solutions that are tailored to the specific requirements of our customers. Choose Sunbridge Solar if you are searching for a solar installation in Washington State that puts your pleasure first.

      Considering Installing Solar Panels?

      We hope this guide has provided you with valuable information about considering installing solar panels in Washington State. At Sunbridge Solar, we are dedicated to helping homeowners and businesses throughout Washington State make the switch to clean, renewable solar energy.

      Switching to solar is an excellent way to save money on your electricity bills, reduce your carbon footprint, and promote a more sustainable energy future. Our team of solar experts is committed to providing you with the best solar solutions, customized to your specific needs.

      Don’t hesitate to reach out to us for a free consultation and quote and take the first step towards a cleaner, more sustainable energy future. Our team is here to answer any questions you may have about solar panel installation and guide you through the process. We’ll work with you to design and install a solar panel system that meets your energy goals and fits within your budget.

      Thank you for considering Sunbridge Solar, and we look forward to helping you with all of your solar needs in Washington State.

      small solar energy system on a metal barn in camas wa
      Lura Kidner-Miesen
      Lura Kidner-Miesen
      I highly recommend Sunbridge Solar. I was very happy with their product, customer service, installation team, and support.
      Karen Driscoll
      Karen Driscoll
      I highly recommend Sunbridge Solar. We received 3 bids. The reason we chose Sunbridge is 1. The reasonable price. 2. Local company. 3. No sales pressure and great product knowledge. Jim our salesperson and Haley our product manager guided us through the process and kept us informed every step of the way. If we had questions, they got back to us within 24 hours. Matt and the rest of the install team were hard working, efficient, friendly, and great communicators. Sunbridge Solar takes care of all the permitting. They coordinate with the utility company (and the cost of the new meter is included in the contract). No hidden costs! We have hired many contractors for a variety of home improvements over the years. None have measured up to the quality of work and customer service we received from Sunbridge Solar.
      Michael Hubbard
      Michael Hubbard
      We could not be happier with Sunbridge Solar and their excellent sales, planning and installation staff. When we had some early communication issues, Jordan, Justin and Sean addressed and resolved them. The installation was a lot of work, partly due to our topography; but Garret and team addressed it with zeal and friendliness, explaining all the was occurring and ready to answer any questions. We likely cannot say enough in a sincere recommendation; but assure you of first-rate service.
      Calvin Mattson
      Calvin Mattson
      Sunbridge was one of three solar companies we interviewed before settling on Sunbridge. If you are in the process of interviewing, be aware that Sunbridge uses top shelf components. The award winning panels and Enphase microconverters are noticeable superior. This is our second house that we've installed solar. These panels are superior even for generation on cloudy days. Be sure and ask for Rachel as she was much more dialed into the industry than the other companies we interviewed.
      Trevor Taggart
      Trevor Taggart
      We had been looking to go Solar for the past 9 years but the costs did not add up enough to take the plunge. A friend of ours recommended Sunbridge Solar so we decided it was time to give it another look. Rachel answered the call and showed up shortly after to start the process. Between collecting power bills, planning the system, and coordinating with all applicable parties communication was great every step of the way. The installers came out and finished within 2-days and over the course of the next 10 days final inspection and installation of our bi-direction meter by the power company. We are extremely happy with the results and with an environmental conscience glad to know we are reducing our dependence on "the grid". Finally once all had been up and running Rachel came back to do a walk-through of the entire system and help streamline our use of the 'Enlighten' app to ensure we were set up correctly to also receive automatic alerts 'if' the system runs into any issues. Thanks again for such a great experience!!
      Gregg R
      Gregg R
      The entire process of getting solar on our house with SUNBRIDGE was professional and efficient. Our point of contact, Justin, was super responsive to probably too many questions and texts that I sent. The install team, led by Matt, inspired confidence with their communication and expertise. Matt installed our car charger too and had really helpful input as to placement which we are really appreciative of and happy with. Haley as the overall coordinator was also excellent, professional, and kind. If you are considering Solar you can do no better than going with SUNBRIDGE.
      harry warren
      harry warren
      My first experience with Sunbridge Solar and SEAN was great! They were super quick to answer my questions and really friendly. SEAN was really knowledgeable and explained things in a simple way that made everything easy to understand. I love my new solar setup and would definitely tell anyone thinking about solar to check out Sunbridge Solar and SEAN!
      Mark Johansen
      Mark Johansen
      Sunbridge Solar did an excellent job installing my 26 panel 10.66Kw system on our home in SE portland. I obtained quotes from 4 different companies including Tesla. In the end Sunbridge was the best value and they had the most sensible plan for my roof. Everyone I worked with from my point man Justin, design&measurements Doug, coordinator Haley, electricians Matt & Matt, and the entire install crew, were all very helpful, professional, courteous. As of today my system has been active and producing electricity for 2 months now and I love it. I would absolutely do business with Sunbridge again and recommend them to anyone needing Solar. Thanks for the rooftop system Sunbridge!
      Vance Berry
      Vance Berry
      Sean was incredibly helpful. He was generous with his time, making us comfortable with how the system worked, and is obviously passionate about this work. Thanks, Sean, for going above and beyond!
      Steve Skinner
      Steve Skinner
      All staff - sales, installers and office were very professional, friendly, and helpful. We are extremely happy with final product and would recommend Sunbridge Solar to everyone.
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