Considering solar panels in Seattle?

Seattle! The Emerald City in the Evergreen State is only getting greener as more homes and businesses like yours install solar panels! Rooftop solar in Seattle is the typical route, as there isn’t much excess property space for ground-mounted solar, with various building types, from flat roofs to old steeply-pitched gables and rooftop patios. The solar solution for every building varies and, frankly, sometimes is not possible. Our old shop was in Magnolia, and we enjoyed every minute of working there, being close to our Seattle customers; now, in Kenmore, we’re just a stone’s throw away, and we’ve continued to provide our solar panels and renewable energy services all over Seattle. The most important part about installing solar panels in Seattle is understanding what your homes solar access is, how much energy you consume from Seattle City Light, and if you have any future electrical loads that will use more energy later on. Working with us, means we’ll cover these primary considerations and more to ensure that you’re as excited as us to install solar panels on your home in Seattle.

Installing solar panels in Seattle

Going solar in Seattle follows the same process as you would in any other city in Washington, with a request for a free estimate! One of our solar technicians will reach out and ask some preliminary questions to define your goals for going solar. You can also use this time to ask clarifying questions about the products we use, timeline, and installation details and learn more about our team and us. Then you’ll receive a preliminary proposal with a solar design, the cost of the system, production numbers, and a return on investment chart for cash and loan options.

The process:

Request a Free Estimate

Receive preliminary proposal

Finalize design to meet goals

Sign contract and pay 10% deposit, trigger review process

Complete site assessment and review process

Pay 60% remaining balance to schedule installation

Install solar, pass inspection, and pay final 30% of remaining balance

Seattle City Light greenlights permission to operate

Incentives for installing solar panels in Seattle

The city of Seattle currently does not have incentives that directly affect solar. The State of Washington sales tax exemption on solar energy systems applies to installations done in Seattle. Also, all residential solar panel systems qualify for the 30% Federal Tax Credit! Dive into the details of solar incentives, local and national, through the link below.

The solar permit process in Seattle

When installing solar panels in Seattle, we will register and pay for the permits with Seattle’s permitting department. We ensure that the solar panels we install on your home passes inspection and has an application for interconnection with City Light. If the solar energy system size is larger than 10kW or contains battery backup the permit will be reviewed by their Network Engineering Department. If you have multiple meters on your property you can submit a Meter Aggregation Application to ensure your solar panels offset energy for both meters.

Seattle City Light and Solar Power

All solar energy systems installed in Seattle that connect to the City Light grid require an Interconnection Agreement. With a net meter, City Light will credit the electricity you don’t consume and send it back to the grid. The credit registers each kWh of electricity at the retail rate, which can be used to lower your future bills. Like other Washington State utilities, the credits you accrue over the year reset on April first.

How much do solar panels cost in Seattle?

Residential rooftop solar panel system costs can vary depending on many factors. The size of the system and the number of solar panels installed on different roof sections adds materials and labor costs. At the same time, the roof’s pitch, the type of roof, and accessibility will also be factored into the final price.

From low to high energy users or a 5kW to 12kW system, the cost can range between $16,500 to $38,000 for the entire system, permit, material, labor, and warranty.

Seattle Solar Companies

Northwest Electric and Solar is your one-stop shop for renewable AND Electrical solutions. We are a fully certified commercial and residential electrical company specializing in renewable energy upgrades. Seattle residents have been a massive part of our business over the last 12 years, whether installing lights, appliances outlets, and EV chargers. We are happy to provide turnkey solutions for home electrification. Installing solar panels occurs on the roof, but it’s an electrician’s job to ensure it’s connected safely and effectively so you can enjoy energy savings for over three decades. The bottom line is that we’re here to stay as Seattle’s go-to contractor for solar and electrical projects. Start your project today with NWES!

Reviews from Seattle Customers

Full Star Full Star Full Star Full Star Full Star

I’m very happy with the photovoltaic (PV) installation done by the folks at Northwest Electric and Solar (NWES) last spring. We were adding about 6.6 kW of solar panels to the roof of our 100+ year old home and were also changing from gas heating to air source heat pump at that time. Besides the addition of the solar panels and installation of the related DC/AC inverter, it also required an upgrade of our main electric panel to bring it up to current building codes and accommodate the new circuits.

Artur K.

Full Star Full Star Full Star Full Star Full Star

I am so excited to have solar panels. From start to finish, working with Northwest Electric & Solar was a pleasure. The communication was top notch, and they were timely. I highly recommend this compnay.

Kirsten C.

Full Star Full Star Full Star Full Star Full Star

I’ve been really impressed with Northwest Electric and Solar! We had an EV charger installed and some misc electrical work completed as one job, and a full solar installation for another. On both the team were extremely friendly, professional and helpful. They talked us through all options and set clear expectations. The finished jobs look and work great. I’ve had some follow up questions on the solar install and have found the team to be extremely helpful. We’ll definitely be using them again for future electrical needs, strongly recommend!

David D.

Full Star Full Star Full Star Full Star Full Star

Very customer focus! Ian was very professional and timely with responses when installing our solar. Thank you.

Pedro G


FAQ's for going solar in Seattle

  • Does solar work in Seattle?

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    Yes! Solar works in all parts of Washington. Anytime there is daylight, the photovoltaic (PV) panels will produce electricity, with more power produced on sunny days than on cloudy ones. Because we experience very long hours of daylight and sunny weather in summer, power output in July is about six times greater than in December. And Net Metering (one-for-one credit of KWH) allows excess electricity from summer sunshine to be “banked” to reduce subsequent electric bills. Seattle City Light is the Seattle utility with which you enter an interconnection agreement to start producing energy under net metering.

  • What is the average specific production of solar in Seattle?

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    Specific production is a measure of the efficiency of your system based on solar irradiance, tilt and orientation of your panels to the sun, and the system’s efficiency. On average, the residential buildings in Seattle can expect their solar energy systems to produce 947 kWh per kW installed. This is due to weather patterns west of the Cascade mountain range, old and complex roof shapes, and dense tree coverage across the city.

  • What happens when there is a power outage in Seattle?

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    During a power outage, the solar energy system automatically shuts down unless you have battery backup—a required safety feature to protect utility workers working on the power lines in Seattle. A solar energy system is not a source of backup power. A grid-tied solar energy system requires the presence of the grid or battery energy storage system to function during a power outage.

  • Do I need a battery backup system in Seattle?

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    Battery backup systems are only needed if you experience frequent power outages and want a backup technology that pairs with solar. You cannot get a return on investment for battery backup systems because there is no Time-of-Use rate for electricity in Washington that would allow you to charge the batteries at a cheaper rate of the day and use the stored energy during the more expensive rate of the day.

  • Can I charge my plug-in electric vehicle from solar in Seattle?

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    Solar energy produced from your solar panels provides energy for all loads in your home. Charging your EV at home is like powering a load such as a TV or electric stove top. The electricity flowing through your home may be from the grid or your solar panels; if it’s during a sunny, cool day and your panels produce power, there’s a good chance your EV is being charged by the energy you create. If it’s in the afternoon or night, that energy charging your car comes from the grid. Excess power generated during the day is credited to the utility, which then is used at night, so you are still offsetting the usage you’d otherwise be paying for by having solar panels.

  • I’m not sure how long I will live in Seattle. What happens if I want to sell my house a few years after I go solar?

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    Your house in Seattle will appeal more to buyers because solar will always have a lower electric bill than a comparable house without solar. The new owner will benefit from Net Metering. You will already have received the federal income tax credit and earned back that portion of your upfront cost. Last, if you received a loan to pay for solar, you need to pay off the loan. A solar array adds more value to your home than it costs. The best thing to do is to leave the solar on the house rather than try to take it with you.

  • Is there enough sunlight in Seattle for solar?

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    Short answer, Yes! Although it rains and is overcast most of the year, solar in Seattle work for several important reasons. First, we have long summer days, allowing Washington’s solar panel owners to maximize their energy production and credit their bill through the Net Metering incentive. As we build the credit during the long summer days, savings last throughout the darker winter months. Lastly, the solar access in Washington is greater than that of Germany, which in the 1970s led the EU in solar panel installations and boasts of being the first European nation to adopt solar regardless of its average solar access. 

  • Are the winter months too dark for solar in Seattle?

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    It depends on the home’s location and orientation towards the south since, in the Winter, the sun’s angle is sharper, thus lower on the horizon, which will cause more shading. The situation surrounding homes will also impact the amount of shade on the roof due to trees, hills, or larger buildings. If your house resides in an open space with no surrounding trees or buildings, you can expect to produce solar energy throughout the Winter! 

  • Is the roof on my Seattle home too shaded for solar?

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    There are a few ways to determine if your Seattle home is too shaded for solar. You can look on Google’s Project Sunroof to get a general sense of the feasibility of solar on your home and the savings you stand to gain. If there are structures and trees surrounding your house, you can purchase (~$8.99) and download the Sun Surveyor app. The app will help you see if obstructions around your home will block the sun’s path. Lastly, and the most accurate way is to submit a free estimate form with us, and we’ll give you the complete picture of how much money you can save with solar panels, where solar panels go on your home, and the shading situation of your home.

Find your Seattle solar panel solution today!

Going solar is a big investment; partnering with the right company can make this process easy and exciting.  Our job at NWES, beyond providing our services, is to educate on how these technologies work and why we are installing them. Bottom line is that partnering with NWES means partnering with a company made up of fellow Washingtonians on a mission to Electrify Washington!

You can start your process today commitment-free and at no cost with our Free Estimate!