Solar Panel Installation in Spokane, WA

How Much Do Solar Panels Cost in Spokane, Washington?

So how much are solar panels in Spokane? Going by the average of several sources, it appears solar panels are going to cost around $2.50-2.60 per watt. Average solar panels come in increments of 250 watts, and you’ll need roughly 20-28 panels to be fully self-sufficient, so you can expect to pay somewhere between $12,500 to $18,500 for an average system. This depends on a lot of factors of course, like the size of your house, average energy usage, where you’re having your panels installed, and of course who is doing it. But this is just a ballpark estimate, and it’s a very rough ballpark. And this is before we talk about any kinds of rebates, incentives, grants or anything else that may apply to you. 

What are the benefits of going solar? 

The state of Washington provides a ton of incentives for going solar- it’s almost like they want people to do it. Really strange. So here’s a very quick breakdown of some of the major ones that are going to really benefit you if you’re considering adding solar panels: 

  • State Net Metering Laws- Net metering is the method by which the output of your solar panels is measured, and the actual amount of energy you use vs. the amount you feed back into the grid is computed. In many states, such as Washington, you are actually given a credit for this electricity, which will be applied to your electric bill. By this method, you can theoretically get “paid” for the electricity your system produces, possibly eliminating your future electric bills for years to come even after your system ages out. 
  • Statewide Interconnection Standards- Interconnection standards are the method by which states insure that connecting to the grid will work the same way wherever you go in the state. Washington has such standards, which means connecting your solar power system to the grid is going to be easier, faster and, perhaps most importantly, probably cheaper. 
  • Performance Based Incentives- These incentives are based on the excess power your system generates and feeds back into the grid. Not all states have these, but Washington does. The payments are based on the number of kilowatt hours your solar panels produce according to your meter. The energy you produce is credited as SRECs which fluctuate in value via supply and demand. 
  • State Sales Tax Exemption- Solar equipment and installation are exempt from sales taxes in the state of Washington on solar power systems up to 100 kilowatts (an average house needs 5-7 kilowatts, so it’s unlikely any regular resident is going to eclipse that mark. This tax exemption could potentially save you thousands on your solar installation, so this is a big plus. 
  • Modified Accelerated Cost Recovery Program- (MACRS) This is a system by which business owners can recover some costs of assets purchased through time via an income tax deduction. For any solar equipment, business owners can deduct as much as 85% of the cost of that equipment from their federal income taxes. For more information, see https://www.investopedia.com/terms/m/macrs.asp
  • Federal Tax Credit- You can deduct up to 26% of the cost of your solar power system from your federal tax liability. This alone can save you a bundle on the installation of solar panels, so make sure you don’t miss out on this one. 

How much will the addition of solar panels increase my home’s value?

Solar panels generally increase the resale value of a home by something around 4%, so that works out to an increase of $8000-12000 in the value of an average home. This, of course, varies according to a vast number of factors, not the least of which is whether or not a potential buyer cares that the home has solar panels. Some people won’t, of course, but a lot of people will, and they’ll often be glad to pay more for them. The average home price in Spokane as of this writing was $350,000, so if we’re going by the 4% increase average, then that’s something like $14,000 you can expect to add to the value of your home. 

What are the Effects of Net Metering on a Solar System?

Net metering allows you to “sell” unused energy back into the grid. This usually results in you getting some kind of “credit” toward future electricity bills. Washington has strong net metering laws, requiring utility companies to give 1 kilowatt hour of credit for each kilowatt hour of electricity fed back into the grid. 

How much solar power do I need to power my home?

Average homes use something like  5000 to 7000 kilowatt hours of power per year, meaning if you want to be completely self sufficient, you need to produce at least that much. To produce this amount of power, you’re going to need between 20 and 28 standard 250 watt commercial solar panels. Your provided will probably be able to give you a better picture of exactly how much you need, as each individual home will have different needs based on energy usage, size of the house, number of residents, etc. 

What is the “Payback” period for Solar Panels in Spokane, Washington?

Your “payback” period for a solar power system is how long it will take for your system to pay for itself, via net metering, solar energy credits, savings on electric bills, incentives, tax write-offs, rebates, etc. There are a lot of different estimates out there about solar panels in Spokane and the state of Washington in general, but on the high end estimates are ranging anywhere from 15 to 21 years. What does this mean to you? Unfortunately, you won’t see a tangible return on your investment until your solar panels have “paid for themselves”, meaning no matter how much you save on your electric bill from month to month, it won’t add up to what you paid for the whole system for 15 to 21 years. Still, keep this in mind- Once the system has paid for itself, you are looking at “free” electricity for as long as the system remains in operation, and average home solar energy systems are warrantied for 25 years. So even if your system does take 21 years to pay for itself- it still will eventually pay for itself, meaning you will, eventually “make” money off of it. 

How do I get solar panels installed in Spokane, Washington? 

So if you live in Spokane, you know all too well that you’re kind of on an island. Not a physical island so much as a metaphorical one- There just isn’t much around you in any direction for quite some distance. That doesn’t mean you can’t get good quality work done, keep in mind, it just means that you’re not going to have a ton of options when it comes to local companies to hire. You may be able to find an out-of-town company that’s willing to come in and install a system for you, but if you want someone who can provide consistent service then you’re probably better off going local. So let’s take a look at several of the companies local to the Spokane area and see what we can learn about them. 

Company Name: Northwest Renewables

Address: 2613 W 8th Ave, Spokane, WA 99224

Years in Business: 5

Website: https://northwestrenewables.com/

Reviews: Five stars on facebook (21 reviews), 4 / 5 Yelp (13 reviews)

Business Quote: “Count on us for detailed estimating and energy modeling, skilled installation, and knowledgeable integration of solar power with energy-efficient construction.

No other company in the region offers an easier, more complete way to go solar.”

The Good: Well done website, lots of good information and pictures of what they do

The Bad: No bad to report

Summary:  Founded in 2016 by Gavin Tenold and Harlan Heise, Northwest Renewables has established itself as a premier company for solar needs in Northeast and North central Washington. Their website displays a number of jobs they’ve completed over the years and explains a lot of details about the installation and operation of a solar energy system (and zoned climate control, which seems really interesting- see https://northwestrenewables.com/zoned-climate-control/). They have no complaints on the BBB website, which is always a plus. 

Company: PCI Renewables

Address: 400 S Jefferson St Ste 301, Spokane, WA 99204

Years in Business: 12

Website:  http://www.pcirenewables.com/contact/

Reviews: 5 / 5 Facebook (6 reviews), 5 / 5 Home Advisor (5 reviews), 5 / 5 BBB (1 review)

Business Quote: “PCI Renewables is a leading electrical contracting firm specializing in design-build electrical construction and renewable energy systems. We provide our customers a full service design and implementation of energy conservation measures, solar photovoltaic systems and electrical construction.”

The Good: All positive reviews that I can find, no negatives or complaints with the BBB

The Bad: Website seems a little glitchy. Not easy to use or navigate

Summary: Gonna be honest with you on this one- I’m flying a little bit blind. I can find lots of nice reviews about them on different websites, but their own website is either not feeling too well today or is just plain buggy. So without being able to get in there and check it out I’m going to have to give this one a little bit of an incomplete review for the time being. Just judging by the little bit I’m able to actually see though, this looks like a good company. 

Company Eco Depot

Address: 1326 E Sprague Ave Spokane, WA 99202-2155

Years in Business: 27

Website:  ecodepotinc.com

Reviews: 5 / 5 Facebook (12 reviews), 4.5 / 5 Yelp (4 reviews), 4.9 / 5 Birdseye (19 reviews)

Business Quote: “The Inland Northwest’s premiere store for green building materials, remodeling supplies and clean energy systems for the home and business, including solar and wind.:

The Good:  Great reviews, 27 years in business

The Bad: Inexplicably not BBB accredited, does not appear to have a huge web presence

Summary: This looks like one of those older companies that was around before the internet reached its present status as our dark master. They appear to have been around for a long time and have done a lot of work over the last 27 years, but also appear to not really care a whole lot about what gets said about them on the internet. I don’t see a lot of effort on their part to gather good reviews or to bolster their reputation using the internet, which actually can be looked at as a good thing- As in, they don’t pay much attention to the internet and still have people saying a lot of nice things about them out there. This company could be a very good one to look into, based strictly on that information. 

Best of The Rest:

Company: CED Greentech

Address: 6512 N Napa St, Spokane, WA 99217

Website:  cedgreentech.com

Reviews: 5 / 5 Glass Door (25 reviews), 4 / 5 stars Yelp

Business Quote: “ Whether your project is residential or commercial, we’re confident we’ll have what you need when you need it.”

Company: Spokane Solar

Address: 125 N Stone St Ste B, Spokane, WA 99202

Website:  https://www.spokanesolarenergy.com

Reviews: None that I could find

 Business Quote:  “The Sun’s rays have no operating or maintenance costs so pre-purchasing the next 25+ years of electricity … can be both financially and environmentally beneficial”

Final Word: 

Believe it or not, solar panels work just fine in an environment like Spokane’s. It may not be as sunny and warm as a lot of the places that thrive on solar energy, but remember, all that has to happen for a solar panel to produce energy is for sunlight to reach it. And even on an overcast day, sunlight is still coming through. And believe it or not, in a cooler environment, solar panels are actually more efficient. So yea, you are still good. 

So yes, Spokane is kind of an island. Your nearest neighbor of any considerable size may be a hundred miles away, sure. You may be surrounded by nothing but sasquatch-infested primeval woodlands. Ok, fine. But there’s somebody who visits Spokane every single day- That’s right, our old pal Sol, and that rhymes with solar. So there’s nothing stopping you from going solar in Spokane. There’s companies who will do the work and there’s plenty of sun, so get out there and put it to use!