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Thanks for the pertinent information about solar ed in schools. I forwarded your info to my contacts in both Steilacoom High School and Washington High School. I think you are into the right market at the right time. We need to get our educators thinking more about science and technology. We will get smarter on this topic and figure out if our schools are willing to go forward. The Kiwanis in Steilacoom and the Clover Creek Council have proposed providing a grant to Steilacoom HS to evaluate the feasibility of adding solar studies to their curriculum and building a solar park by the school. Your information has been extremely helpful.

Thanks for taking the time to share some of your knowledge.


About Solar Photovoltaics

Solar Photovoltaics (PV, Solar Electric) is the most cost effective form of solar in Washington State.


Our Goal is to educate you, giving you the tools you need to decide if solar is right for you. If you have any other questions about solar hot water, or suggestions about additions or improvements to this page, please let us know.


How it Works


Solar Energy Absorption

The Solar Electric Panels absorb the sunlight and transfer it to DC electricity.

Electricity Conversion

The Inverter transforms the DC electricity to AC electricity to perfectly match the frequency of the grid.

Electricity Metering

All the electricity produced goes through a production meter, and once a year the utility sends you a check for this electricity.

Electricity Use

The electricity goes into your home to be used.

Surplus Electricity to the Grid

If you are producing more power than you need, the electricity goes through the net meter, and out onto the grid for your neighbors to use.


For safety reasons, grid tied systems must shut down if the power is out. To keep your lights on without the hassle of a generator, you will need a battery back up system.





how solar works high res
30% Federal Tax Credit: This is a credit, not a deduction. If you buy a $10,000 solar system, you can write off $3,000 from your taxes owed. Don’t pay enough taxes to get the full amount back? You can take up to 5 years to claim the full amount. Application is simple, just fill out IRS form 5695 and submit it with your tax returns. The current expiration date is 2016.

Production Incentive: This is the payment the utility makes to you for all the power you produce (see step 3 above), whether you use it or it goes back out to the grid. They pay you up to 54 cents per kWh, up to $5,000 per year. This payment comes to you once a year in the form of a check from the utility. The program expiration date is 2020.

Net Metering: This is the credit the utility gives you for the electricity you send back to your neighbors (see step 5). When a solar electric system is installed, we change out your current meter for a bi-directional meter, so it keeps track of what is coming and going. On your utility bill, there will be a credit for the power you send back.

Reduced Sales Tax: Systems under 10kw are sales tax exempt. No sales tax is ever paid. On systems larger than 10kw sales tax is paid up front, and you can then apply for a 75% sales tax credit. It is very rare that a residential system is larger than 10kw, so most of you are not impacted by this.  The current expiration date is June 2013.

Accelerated Depreciation: If you install solar on a property owned through a business…50% of the system cost can be depreciated in the first year, and the remainder over the following 4 years. That is 5 years to 100% depreciation.



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DSIRE Washington



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