Solar Washington

Last week we had a volunteer from Solarize Washington come to our office meeting to share a great program taking place for Seattle residents interested in adding solar power to their home.

Solar Power: Get Great Incentives, Increase Property Value

Solar power works in Seattle, and hundreds of homes are enjoying free energy, getting cash back for the energy they produce, and helping Seattle become more sustainable. But you can get another benefit from solar: it’s been shown to increase a home’s resale value.

What is the “Solarize” program?

Through the nonprofit Solarize Seattle: Northwest program running this spring, people in northwest Seattle neighborhoods can take advantage of a free workshop to learn how solar works, access solar incentives and financing, and get a free assessment and bid on putting solar on their home. Because the program includes a competitively chosen installation team of Puget Sound Solar and Artisan Electric, participants also get a group-buying discount for the best possible price on their solar system.

The project is supported by three community councils and four Sustainable groups, and has volunteers working to get the word out in every northwest neighborhood. It follows a process run by Solarize in northeast Seattle, Queen Anne and Magnolia that has put solar on more than 100 homes.

Getting started is easy. Just register at

Why go solar now?

  • Incentives: a 30% federal tax credit, annual state energy incentives, utility credits, and a state sales tax exemption bring the payback time down significantly.
  • Group-powered discount: Solarize is a community program that uses group buying power to get our neighborhood the best price.
  • Low-interest loans: finance the installation and offset the payments with your annual production incentive credit.
  • Decades of clean energy: today’s efficient solar panels have 25-30 year power production warranties and will produce clean, renewable energy for years to come.

How does solar affect resale?

A 2011 study by the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory looked at home sales in California from 2000 to 2009 and their analysis “finds strong evidence that California homes with PV systems have sold for a premium over comparable homes without PV systems.” For homes with an average-sized solar system, the sale price increased by approximately $17,000.

Another recent study, by the Portland-based Earth Advantage Institute with support from the real-estate and home-building communities in Portland and Seattle, found that “green-certified” homes in Seattle command a 9.6% increase in sale price. The project looked at the Earth Advantage and Built Green certifications.

Solarize Seattle: Northwest will be running through spring 2013, and advises people to consider a solar project now, to get the most advantage from tax credits and incentives. For a full workshop schedule and more information, visit

Solar Washington is a nonprofit organization composed of people, companies, programs and organizations working to advance the solar industry in our state. We are an association of solar energy equipment manufacturers, system integrators, distributors, dealers, designers, installers, consultants, students, teachers, and solar enthusiasts. Through education and networking, we promote the development and effective use of solar and renewable energy with concern for the economic, environmental and social fabric of Washington.