Questions & Answers

Solar Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) in Washington

What is a Solar Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) and is it valid in Washington?


Washington state is among the states that allow Solar Power Purchase Agreements. If you’re considering a PPA, it’s essential to review the terms and benefits specific to your location and needs.

A Solar Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) is a financial arrangement that allows homeowners to “rent” solar panels and pay only for the energy they generate without the high upfront costs. Washington state is among the states that allow PPAs, making them a viable option for businesses, universities, hospitals, and other entities committed to renewable energy and cost savings.

Here’s how it works:

Installation and Ownership:

  • A solar provider installs and maintains a solar power system on your property.
  • You, as the homeowner, do not own the panels; they belong to the company.

Electricity Generation and Billing:

  • The solar panels generate electricity, which you use in your home.
  • The company bills you for the electricity based on metered rates.
  • Typically, these rates are lower than what you’d pay to your utility company.

Savings and Considerations:

  • The exact savings depend on fluctuating power prices, but most PPAs are designed to save you money.
  • If the panels produce excess electricity, you may receive a credit against your utility bill.
  • Consider factors like contract length, early termination fees, and whether a PPA aligns with your needs.

Pros of Solar PPAs:

  • Affordability: PPAs allow homeowners to access solar power without any initial investment. There are no upfront costs or maintenance fees.
  • Lower Energy Bills: Under a PPA, you pay a fixed rate for the electricity generated by the solar system. These rates are often significantly lower than traditional utility rates.
  • Environmental Impact: By using solar energy, you contribute to a cleaner environment.

Cons of Solar PPAs:

  • Limited Savings: Since you don’t own the system, your savings are limited compared to owning the solar panels outright.
  • Escalators: Some PPAs include escalators, which periodically raise the electricity rate within the contract.


Incentives for Solar in Washington

What Incentives are available for me to get solar on my house in Washington?


Because no other question is asked more often to Solar Washington under various forms that the one about the availability of solar incentives, we have written a page on this website that answers it thoroughly.

If you are a homeowner:  consult Current Solar Incentives in Washington (

If you are a business owner, most of those items will apply to you, but you can also check: Solar for Washington Businesses (

The main solar incentives in Washington State are:

  • The Individual Tax Credit (ITC) is a 30 percent federal tax credit for solar installations, and this now includes stand-alone energy storage devices that have a capacity rating of 5 kilowatt hours or greater. 
  • Net Metering lets customers of power companies offset their electricity consumption with a credit if they produce more electricity than they use, or they are charged if they purchase more than the produce.  Under the current law, net metering is available from individual electric companies as long as they have not reached a certain threshold capacity.  Updated status is available on this WSU website.

Check the Incentive page for additional incentives and check with your utility company for any local incentive.

Incentives for off-grid solar

I am shopping for land in Western Washington for an off-grid tiny home as a full time residence. Are there solar discounts or incentives if I won't be connected to a municipal electric grid?


The Federal Investment Tax Credit is available for off-grid installations. This now includes stand-alone energy storage devices that have a capacity rating of 5 kilowatt hours or greater. See the Homeowner’s Guide to the Federal Tax Credit for Solar Photovoltaics for more information.

Net energy metering will not be available without connecting to the utility grid, so your system will require battery storage to support nighttime energy loads.

Here is a list of qualified contractors to consider reaching out for a proposal, and there are also a wide range of solar+storage applications available online:

Becoming a Solar Company

We are a roofing company located in Washington and we are extremely interested in moving forward with solar option solutions. We understand we need to get our license going but we would like to know who would be a good point of contact in guiding us with products and logistic information for solar?


You already have your business license, so you could add services offered under that license if you choose to do so: 
-- Installation of Solar PV equipment (racking included) is required to be done by licensed electricians:
-- Residential work may be done by an 02 Journeyman (each 02 may oversee two apprentices on residential work)
-- Commercial work may be done by an 01 Journeyman (each 01 may oversee one apprentice on commercial work)
-- An 01 Journeyman is qualified as an 02 as well

Unless you partner with an electrician it will take at least 4 years to earn either an 01 or 02 Journeyman's card. 

We recommend talking with Electrical Supply Houses and Solar Supply Houses for learning about product options and availability. Solar specific businesses will be glad to talk about products, logistics etc.

One other note I think is important, and please don't take this the wrong way. I have talked with some roofing companies and have known of a few solar installers that are inappropriately using the Federal Tax Credit to help cover the roofing costs when a new roof is added along with a solar pv system. This happens nationally and according to the IRS and the language used in the writing of this Investment Tax Credit, the cost of the roof is not allowed to be part of the credit. I am noting this just in case you have been mis-informed, and I want to make sure you are able to protect your business.

LEED credits for new residential buildings

I am looking for information regarding the type of LEED credits for solar on residential buildings


LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification is a valuable recognition for sustainable and environmentally friendly buildings. When it comes to residential properties, LEED certification ensures that homes are designed, constructed, and operated with a focus on energy efficiency, health, and environmental impact. 

Here’s how solar energy can contribute to LEED certification for residential buildings:

  • On-Site Renewable Energy (EA Credit 5): By implementing solar power systems in your home, you can earn up to 8 LEED points under the “On-Site Renewable Energy” credit. The number of points earned depends on the percentage of energy costs you offset through your on-site renewable energy initiatives.
  • Energy & Atmosphere Category (EA Credit 2): Solar projects play a significant role in LEED certification within the “Energy & Atmosphere” category. Specifically, EA Credit 2 focuses on “On-Site Renewable Energy.” This credit can provide up to 7 possible LEED points.
  • Overall Impact: LEED-certified homes use less energy and water, resulting in lower utility bills. On average, certified homes consume 20 to 30 percent less energy than non-green homes, with some homes saving up to 60 percent. Additionally, LEED homes are designed to maximize indoor fresh air quality and minimize exposure to airborne toxins, promoting better health and comfort for occupants. Properly planned LEED homes can be built at a similar cost to non-green homes and may qualify for discounted homeowner’s insurance, tax breaks, and other incentives. In many markets, certified green homes are selling quicker and for more money than comparable non-green homes.
  • Remember that LEED certification can be applied to various types of residential projects, including single-family homes, multifamily buildings, and renovations. Project teams can customize their pursuit of LEED credits based on priorities such as health, energy efficiency, and resilience. If you’re considering solar energy for your home, it’s a step toward both environmental sustainability and potential LEED certification!

For more information:

LEED Certification and Solar: How Does Renewable Energy Help? (

LEED certification for residential | U.S. Green Building Council (


  • Chantal Stevens
    published this page 2024-03-28 16:33:51 -0700

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