AN INDEPENDENT SUPPLEMENT BY MEDIAPLANET TO THE SEATTLE TIMES
October 1st, 2013
Washington home and business owners are “going solar” in record numbers and our local industry is powering the boom. Considered these facts:
- Installation of solar energy systems in Washington homes and businesses is nearly doubling every year.
- Solar panel manufacturing output in our state has increased six-fold over the past 24 months, driving down the cost for customers.
With some of the most progressive incentives in the nation, the return on investment for Washington residents today is real and substantial. Working together, our state has made solar a smart buy.
How smart? Residential and commercial property owners with a “Made in Washington” solar array may be eligible for a check of up to $5,000 per year for the power their panels put into the grid, while at the same time their power bill is reduced by the amount of power they produce. There’s a federal tax incentive as well ― put a new solar array onto your home and you may qualify for a credit of up to 30 percent of the cost from Uncle Sam. That’s not a deduction from taxable income, it’s a tax credit ― same as cash. And installation of solar systems in Washington is exempt from sales and use taxes, sweetening the deal for buyers.
With the incentives in place today, a new solar system can pay for itself in seven years of less. After that, all the power you generate goes into your pocket.
That’s a great investment for consumers, but there’s a larger benefit for our Washington economy: local jobs. The boom in demand has driven the production of solar panels and related equipment by Washington manufacturers to record levels, while professional installers in our local communities are finding new customers every day. All across the industry, those are green jobs building a greener Washington. That’s innovation!
And don’t let those could days put you off ― solar panels are more efficient in cool climates like our own. A panel in Seattle produces 90 percent of the power of one in Miami.