Costs, Incentives, and Installation Basics
Performance and Typical Costs:
A residential solar electric system installed in an unshaded site typically generates about 1,000 kilowatt-hours (kWh) per year for each kW installed. Currently in Seattle, the average residential solar electric system size is 7kW. This represents an investment of about $24,000 before incentives or taxes.
7 Steps to Solar Energy Installation
Step 1: Assess your Property and current electric service
Adding a solar system is considered a modification to your service and may require additional work to bring the existing equipment up to today’s code requirements. Beginning work without an assessment may result in additional cost and delays. To alleviate this, Seattle City Light can do a free, on-site assessment of your existing electric service to determine if it is in compliance with current codes. Locate your Electric Service Representative here or by calling the intake desk at 206-233-2777.
Step 2: Obtain bids and choose A solar contractor
We recommend obtaining a minimum of three (3) bids. There are many contractors to choose from, and while City Light does not endorse or refer contractors, Solar Installers of Washington maintains a list of possible qualified installers for your consideration.
Step 3: Complete these documents
Apply for interconnection and net metering by filling out an Application for Electric Service prior to system installation. As part of this document, you will need to submit an Interconnection Application & Agreement (EZ-IAA).
If you are planning an installation in any of the Seattle City Light Network Service Areas, your application will be reviewed by our Network Engineering Department, which can add additional time to the interconnection approval process. Network installations may also require special equipment. To determine if your project is located in a network area please download a network map.
Step 4: Obtain permits
Have your system permitted, installed and inspected by your local permitting jurisdiction. In Seattle, contact the Department of Construction and Inspections.
Step 5: Apply for incentives
Apply for State Production Incentives through the WSU Energy Program. All solar customers who wish to receive available production incentives must apply each year. Solar customers joining the new WA State production incentive program starting in 2018 will be required to pay an annual $125 application fee, to be submitted with the incentive application.
Step 6: Claim your tax credit
On your next federal income tax return, claim your renewable energy tax credit (review system qualifications and credit amounts here).
Step 7: Claim your annual incentive
Follow the instructions outlined on the WSU Renewable Energy System Incentive program website to receive your annual incentive payment.
- WSU Renewable Energy System Incentive Program
- Requirements for Electrical Service Connection: Manual of Seattle City Light processes for new and rewired services, including where to install meter sockets.
- Solar One Line and Production Meter Wiring Diagram