Learn about solar panel installs in Tacoma
Considering Solar in Tacoma?
Tacoma, Washington, embraces solar energy as an eco-friendly and sustainable power source that helps Tacoma residents save money and hedge against inflating electricity costs. The most important part about installing solar panels in Tacoma is understanding what your home solar access is, how much energy you consume from Tacoma Power, 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 you’re as excited as us to install solar panels on your home in Tacoma!
Installing solar panels in Tacoma
Going solar in Tacoma 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 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.
Installing solar panels in Tacoma
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
Tacoma Power greenlights permission to operate
Incentives for installing solar panels in Tacoma
The city of Tacoma 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 Tacoma. 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 Tacoma
When installing solar panels in Tacoma, we will register and pay for the permits with Tacoma’s permitting department. We ensure that the solar panels we install on your home pass inspection and have an application for interconnection with Tacoma Power. The electrical permit holder (Northwest Electric and Solar) shall be available during the electrical inspection to give access to the entire interconnected generation system.
Net Metering with Tacoma Power in Tacoma
Many customers in Tacoma install rooftop solar panels for electricity generation, but these alone may not suffice year-round energy offset. Solar customers in Tacoma still need a “net metering” connection with Tacoma Power, allowing electricity exchange between their panels and the grid. An Advanced Bi-directional Meter records these transactions, enabling customers to buy and sell electricity as needed. The net meter tracks forward during purchases and backward when supplying excess electricity, with credits or charges reflected on utility bills. Properly sizing solar panels is essential to match annual consumption and avoid overspending. Extra credits are forfeited to the utility annually as per RCW 80.60.030 on April 1st.
Tacoma Power and Solar Energy
All solar energy systems installed in Tacoma that connect to the Tacoma Power grid require an Interconnection Agreement. With a net meter, Tacoma Power 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 1st.
How much do solar panels cost in Tacoma?
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 factor into the final price.
From low to high energy users or a 5kW to 12kW system, the cost can range between $18,500 to $40,000 for the entire system, permit, material, labor, and warranty.
Tacoma 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. Sammamish 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 Sammamish’s go-to contractor for solar and electrical projects. Start your project today with NWES!
FAQs for going solar in Tacoma
Does solar work in Tacoma?
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. 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 Tacoma?
Specific production measures the efficiency of your system based on solar irradiance, the tilt and orientation of your panels toward the sun, and the system’s efficiency. On average, the residential buildings in Tacoma can expect their solar energy systems to produce 1,000 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 the San Juan Islands?
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 Tacoma. 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 Tacoma?
Battery backup systems are only needed if you experience frequent power outages and want a backup technology that pairs with solar. Living in the Island County its best to take backup power into your hands in case of any prolonged outages. Fortunately we offer several battery energy storage options to meet your backup needs! Note: 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 Tacoma?
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 don't know how long I will live in Tacoma. What happens if I want to sell my house a few years after I go solar?
Your house in Tacoma 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 Tacoma for solar?
Short answer: Yes! Although it rains and is overcast most of the year, solar in Tacoma works for several essential 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 Tacoma?
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!
Find your Tacoma 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. The bottom line is that partnering with NWES means partnering with a company 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!