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Although higher latitudes receive fewer annual hours of sunlight, solar panels operate at greater efficiency in cooler climates making solar in Seattle, Olympia, Tacoma, Bainbridge, Bellevue, Redmond, Everett and beyond excellent places for solar. In addition, the Northwest has long summer days with many months of high solar hours. Although the Northwest does have long, overcast winters, solar makes a lot of sense because it still works on cloudy days. Even in areas that have long, rainy winters like Seattle and the greater Puget Sound area, solar power is still a very attractive solution to today’s energy problems. Even though it might not seem like it during the winter, most of the Northwest actually receives up to 70% of the sunlight that Los Angeles does!
Germany, which actually gets less sunlight than we do here in the Northwest, has installed over 50% of the world's solar photovoltaic panels and is expecting to be 100% green in its national energy use by 2050. Germany has approximately 10% fewer annual hours of sunlight than Seattle and most of the country is actually north of the Puget Sound’s latitudes, yet over half of the world’s solar energy is being generated there. If Germany can produce that much solar energy with less sun, there is no reason not to go solar here in the Northwest.
In addition, Washington has one of the best incentive programs in the country. The incentives make solar more financially attractive here than in the majority of the southern states.
Because of the huge success of solar power in Germany, Washington has modeled its solar electric financial incentive programs on those of Germany, making Washington one of the most innovative and generous incentive programs in the country. These state incentives actually make solar more financially attractive than going solar in many of the sunniest states! Solar in Seattle, Bellevue, Redmond, Bainbridge, Tacoma, Olympia, and Everett and Snohomish County have grown be 50% annually. By Washington State making solar electricity worth three to four times that of what you pay for your electricity, a solar energy system that offsets 1/3rd of your annual electric consumption will actually offset your “entire” annual electric bill! In many of the sunny southern states it would require a solar energy system twice the size of a Puget Sound region solar system to offset an electric bill based upon the same electric usage.
Take advantage of the wonderful made-in-Washington incentives. The State of Washington, in an effort to promote renewable electricity generation, is purchasing solar generation at $.15/kWh until July 2020. If the inverter is manufactured in Washington state the $.15 is boosted to $.18/kWh. Solar modules made in WA earn $.36/kWh and if both models and inverter are made in WA you earn $.54/kWh. If you live in the Snohomish PUD, they are offering a great solar incentive called, Solar Express. Receive cash incentives on both commercial and residential systems. Find out more information from a Sunergy Systems' Solar Design Consultant.
Click to learn more about Washington solar incentive programs.
This link talks about Washington State’s solar potential: