Installing solar panels for your home or business in Washington state is one of the best investments you can make this year. For instance, just take a look at all these state and federal solar incentives being offered right now! However, when it comes to picking a good solar installler you might be a little spoilt for choice – the US Solar Energy Industries Association counts 122 different solar companies operating in Washington alone.
A good solar installation can continue bringing you value for decades to come, which means deciding on a solar company should not be a decision to rush into. That’s why we’ve done the research for you and reviewed nine of the best-known solar companies in Washington below. Of course, everyone’s needs and circumstances are different. You can also click here to find out what qualities we think you should look for in a solar installer. Nevertheless, our comparisons below should give you a great starting point for your solar search.
Sunenergy Systems is an employee-owned solar company led by a team with over 30 years of solar experience. They mainly partner with American renewable energy manufacturers such as Tesla, Sunpower and Silfab.
Sunenergy Systems has their headquarters in Seattle. They offer solar installations for customers in the Seattle and Puget Sound region.
Certifications & Licensing
Sunenergy employs NABCEP-certified PV Technical Sales and PV Installation Professionals. They are certified as an electrical and general contractor in Washington.
In addition, the company is also a certified Tesla Powerwall installer and Sunpower Elite Dealer.
Sunenergy Systems was founded in 2005 by electrical engineer Howard Lamb. They have since installed over 2,000 solar power systems in this time, with a total capacity of 10 MW.
Uniquely, Sunenergy Systems is completely employee-owned. Private shares of the company are split between its current 18 employees, giving each of them a stake in the company’s success.
Sunenergy Systems is accredited on BBB, with an A+ BBB rating and a 5-star customer rating from 2 reviews. They are well regarded on Google as well, with a 4.8-star rating after 63 reviews. The owner takes the time to respond to almost every single Google review, positive or negative, and often offers refunds or further help for bad experiences. On Facebook, they have a 5-star rating with 11 reviews.
Solora Solar have been in business in the Washington area for the past 10 years, and thus have an impressive wealth of solar experience to draw from in order to ensure that they get your installation right. They offer three different types of system options: their most popular Grid-tied system, a hybrid Grid-tied plus storage option and a purely Off-grid system.
Solora Solar is a locally-owned company which operates entirely in Washington. They primarily serve customers in the state’s eastern and western regions. This comprises of the greater Seattle area along with Yakima, Franklin, Benton, Kittitas and Walla Walla Counties.
Licensing & Certification
Solora Solar is certified with the NABCEP, and is also a certified member of the PSE Contractor Alliance Network (CAN). Additionally, they are certified installers for the Tesla Powerwall, LG Chem RESU & Prime Battery, Generac Storage and Panasonic Evolt.
Founded in 2011, Solora Solar boasts a core leadership team with over 30 years of experience in the solar industry. They’ve completed 800 projects in Washington since then, adding up to a total of 4,000 Kw installed for their customers.
They offer customers a 10-year workmanship warranty, meaning that they will fully cover any workmanship-related repair costs to your system for ten years post-installation. This impressive customer support also includes a customer service team available 24/7 to help you out with any potential issues.
While Solora Solar has incredibly high customer ratings, they don’t receive many reviews in total: They hold an A+ rating on BBB and have been accredited on the site since 2015, but have only received two 5-star customer reviews so far. Similarly, they have a perfect 5-star rating on Google with four customer reviews, and have no reviews on their Facebook page.
They are much more noticeable on sites dedicated to reviewing solar companies, however. The company holds a 5-star rating on Energy Sage after 27 customer reviews and and an above-average 4.17 star rating with 11 reviews on Solar Reviews.
Whidbey Sun & Wind
Whidbey Sun & Wind has operated in the Washington area for over 20 years, making them one of the oldest renewable energy installers in the state. They offer customers American-made solar modules, and have experience with all types of renewal energy systems, including solar PV and solar water heaters.
Whidbey Sun & Wind service customers in the North Puget Sound region of Washington state. They are headquartered in this same region on Whidbey Island.
Licensing & Certification
Whidbey Sun & Wind are NABCEP certified, and have four NABCEP-certified PV installers able to personally oversee PV installations on site.
They are also a registered contractor in Snohomish County, WA.
Whidbey Sun & Wind was founded in 2000 by Kelly Keilwitz, a registered civil engineer and NABCEP Certified PV Installation Professional. They boast a long and successful legacy, having been involved in Washington state’s very first grid-tied PV installation.
To date, they have helped their customers install over 3.5MW of renewable energy.
The company enjoys glowing customer reviews on Solar Reviews. In fact, they are the single highest-rated solar company on the site for Washington state, with a 4.8-star rating across 179 total reviews. They do lack a presence on Facebook and Google however. The company does have a perfect 5-star rating on Facebook, but with only 5 total reviews. They’ve also received only 2 Google reviews. Whidbey Sun & Wind has achieved an A+ rating on BBB, but similarly have no customer reviews on the site.
Sunbridge Solar describe themselves as being the #1 solar crew of the Pacific Northwest. As a certified B corporation, they focus on helping their customers reduce greenhouse gas emissions and save on utility bills through solar panel installation.
Sunbridge Solar mainly helps customers in the Southwest Washington and NW Oregon areas. They operate out of their headquarters along the Columbia River near Portland.
Licensing & Certification
Sunbridge Solar is certified by the NABCEP. They also hold an Electrical and General Contractor license in Washington state.
Sunbridge Solar has been committed to helping their customers make informed solar decisions since 2010. They offer a free solar consultation service, informing potential customers on solar incentives and products.
Founder Jordan Weissman is a Portland native and NABCEP certified PV installer. He has extensive experience with installing and designing solar energy systems both in the US and abroad.
Sunbridge solar is one of the most-reviewed Washington solar installers on Google. Impressively, they boast a perfect 5-star rating even after 76 reviews. And while they only have 14 reviews on Facebook, they also hold a 5-star rating on the platform. Sunbridge Solar is rated A+ by the BBB, though they are not BBB accredited have no customer reviews on that site.
Power Trip Energy Corporation
Power Trip Energy Corporation is a Washington solar company specializing in the installation of Grid-tied PV systems for home residences. They have been in business for close to twenty years and boast hundreds of satisfied customers.
Power Trip Energy operates out of Port Townsend in Washington state. They are able to serve customers throughout Western Washington.
Licensing & Certification
Power Trip Energy is NABCEP-certified, with two technicians on staff possessing the solar qualification.
They are also licensed as a general and electrical contractor in Washington state.
Power Trip Energy was co-founded in 2002 by long-time friends Steve Carr and Andy Cochrane. They became one of the state’s first Sunpower-certified Elite Dealers in 2009, making them a great choice if you’re looking to support American solar manufacturers.
Power Trip Energy conducts a thorough on-site evaluation before every installation. They make sure that you understand exactly how much your specific solar installation would cost, and how much it can save you over the years.
Power Trip Energy has a stellar reputation on Solar Reviews, garnering a 4.81-star rating across 128 reviews. They maintain a very high 5-star rating on both Google and Facebook, albeit with only a combined 18 reviews on both platforms. The company has no presence on BBB, with zero reviews and no accreditation.
Artisan Electric is the only union solar contractor in Puget Sound, and has close to 15 years of experience with solar installations in Washington.
Artisan Electric is headquartered in Seattle, but has customers from the entire Puget Sound and Western Washington area.
Certifications & Licensing
Artisan Electric has two NABCEP-certified Solar Professionals on their team. They are also Small Business Certified, and are licensed as an Electrical Contractor and Electrical Admin in Washington.
Artisan Electric was founded in 2007 by residential and commercial electrician Jason Williams. They’re on a mission to provide simple turn-key solar installations to customers, and do so through partnerships with quality manufacturers such as Tesla, Q Cells, LG and Solar Edge.
Their full-service approach includes taking care of all necessary fees, paperwork and permits on your behalf. You can simply kick back and enjoy your new solar installations with minimal fuss!
Artisan Electric is well-regarded on Google, with a 4.8-star rating after 63 reviews. They are slightly lower rated on Facebook, with 61 reviews and a 4.2 rating. Most of their negative Facebook reviews are from a few years back though, and their recent reviews have been overwhelmingly positive. On Solar Reviews, they are the fourth highest rated installer for Washington with a 4.79 rating and over 200 reviews.
A&R Solar is one of the largest solar companies in Washington, with over 3,000 completed solar projects under their belt. While they work mainly with residential and small business installations, they also have experience designing larger-scale solar arrays.
A&R Solar have two office locations, one in Seattle, Washington and the other in Tualatin, Oregon. They are able to carry out solar installations across the entire states of Washington and Oregon.
Certifications & Licensing
A&R Solar employs 17 NABCEP-certified solar professionals, and also holds the required Electrical and General Contractor licenses for Washington state.
A&R Solar initially found life in 2007 as a solar hot water installer. Its two founders Andy Yatteau and Reeves Clippard quickly pivoted into also undertaking solar PV installation in 2008. Solar installation would gradually become what the company is known for today.
On top of the standard 25-year manufacturer warranties, A&R provides their customers with three extra warranties:
- 10-year Performance Guarantee
- 10-year Workmanship Guarantee
- 10 year Labor Coverage
A&R Solar has a high 4.9-star rating on Facebook after 71 reviews. They are also among the top three solar companies in Washington according to Solar Reviews, where they have a 4.8-star rating and 94 reviews. The company is rated 4.6 stars on Google by 44 reviewers.
Though negative reviews on all three of these platforms are rare, most complaints center around A&R Solar’s selectivity. They refuse to carry out less optimal installations on unsuitable properties, due to issues with roofing material, terrain or energy use. Most projects which they do carry out, though, leave happy customers.
Fire Mountain Solar LLC
Unlike many of the other solar companies featured here, Fire Mountain Solar is not just a solar installer. They also provide DIY Solar services which provide you with the materials and guidance you need to set up a solar array for yourself.
Fire Mountain Solar is headquartered just outside of Mt Vernon in Washington state. They provide full installation services to customers in San Juan, Island, Skagit, Snohomish and Whatcom counties.
Certifications & Licensing
Fire Mountain Solar is not certified by the NABCEP. They do hold the requisite Electrical Contractor and General Contractor licenses for Washington state though. In addition, they count two licensed Master Electricians among their staff.
Fire Mountain Solar was founded by Tim Nelson in 2001, an experienced solar and wind installer. Today Fire Mountain Solar sells a wide variety of products to customers interested in setting up their own solar array, from batteries to inverters and, of course, the solar panels themselves.
They are also happy to provide full-service installations for a fee. The company has helped many local businesses set up commercial solar arrays in the past two decades.
Fire Mountain Solar boasts a 5-star rating on Google. Most customers commend them for their exceptional customer service and highly-customized solar energy solutions. They are similarly high-rated on Solar Reviews, where they maintain a high 4.7-star rating with 104 reviews.
The company does not have any customer reviews on BBB, however. They also do not have a Facebook page.
Nationwide Solar is one of the largest solar companies on our current list, with operations across four US states. They use 100% Tier 1 American-made products for all of their installations.
Nationwide Solar is based in Vancouver, Washington. However, their wide service coverage extends to customers in Washington, Oregon, Utah and Idaho.
Certifications & Licensing
Nationwide Solar is not NABCEP-certified, but they are licensed as an Electrical and General Contractor. They are also certified GAF Master Elite roofers, making them qualified to replace or replace your roof if your existing one is unsuitable for solar panel placement.
Nationwide Solar was founded in 2007, and today it has grown to include a huge team of over 600 employees. They don’t use contractors, and instead undertake every part of each solar installation with in-house technicians.
For qualified homeowners, they generously offer complete financing for their solar installations. This allows you to skip the down payment and start reaping the rewards of generating solar energy immediately.
Nationwide Solar has only 5-star reviews on Google, even after 54 total reviews. Most reviewers praise them for their professionalism and quick installation time. They’ve only received 2 reviews each on Facebook and BBB, though all of these reviews also gave them a full 5-stars. Additionally, the company is rated A+ and has been accredited by the BBB since 2018.
Out of all these worthy candidates, our top recommended solar company is A&R Solar. They’re the most experienced company on this list with over 3,000 completed projects, and have experience with both home residential and larger commercial projects. In terms of certifications, they blow many other Washington solar companies out of the water with 17 NABCEP-certified solar professionals on staff. And on top of all that, they offer the most comprehensive warranty packages out of all the companies on this list, showing that they’re willing to back up their marketing claims with concrete guarantees.
All this shows that A&R Solar’s impressive list of customer testimonials on Facebook, Google and Solar Reviews is no accident: this is one company who takes your solar installation and customer service extremely seriously.
Solar Energy In Washington
Unfortunately, Washington does not rank very high when it comes to solar. It sits at a dismal 36th place in 2021 when it comes to total installed solar capacity. There are various reasons for this: Electricity costs in Washington state are the second lowest in the country. This means that Washington residents have less incentive to generate their own power. Additionally, it is during Washington’s sunny summer days that solar panels are able to generate the most electricity. However, residents in the state actually use the most power in winter when heaters come online.
That being said, declines in solar installation costs over the past decade coupled with advancements in battery storage technology mean that solar is looking like an increasingly smart investment for Washington residents right now. Washington state is looking to add 824 MW of solar capacity over the next five years. If all goes well, that would more than triple the state’s current solar capacity of 258 MW.
Laws & Regulations
The Washington State Senate passed the 100% Clean Electricity Act in 2019 which requires public utilities in the state to go carbon neutral by 2030. In addition, 100% of their energy needs would need to be met by renewable sources by 2045. This is one of the most ambitious clean energy bills in America. Only three other US states so far have committed to 100% renewable energy.
When it comes to residential-scale solar panels, Washington’s laws are similar to many other states. You are legally allowed to place solar panels on your property, and homeowner’s associations are not allowed to prohibit solar panel installation.
Washington state does not issue specific solar licenses. Instead, the state requires all electrical work (including solar panel installation) to be performed by a licensed Electrical Contractor. The North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners, or NABCEP, does have a respected certification program for Solar Professionals though. Many of the solar companies on our list above employ technicians with this extra qualification. The NABCEP also has an accreditation program for solar companies, but no Washington-based company has been accredited so far.
Net-metering refers to a system where you sell renewable electricity back to your utility, offsetting your electricity bills. This system allows you to save big on electricity costs with your solar array. Three major utility companies in Washington offer this program to their customers: Avista Corporation, Pacific Power & Light Corporation and Puget Sound Energy. Your solar array has to be below 100 Kw in capacity in order to qualify. This system was last amended in 2000, when regulations were changed to make qualifying for the program easier.
Tax Credits and Incentives
The federal solar tax credit (ITC) applies in Washington state. Through this scheme, you can receive a tax credit equal to 26% of your solar installation’s cost. This tax credit falls to 22% for a solar installation in 2023, before phasing out altogether from 2024 onwards.
The 2019 100% Clean Electricity Act passed by Washington state also exempts all solar energy systems from sales tax. Qualifying for this tax exemption is easy – it applies to all solar arrays between 1 and 100 Kw in capacity and installed by a licensed electrical contractor.
Washington state might be slow on the uptake when it comes to solar, but that doesn’t mean you also should. With falling solar installation costs and very generous tax incentives, there has never been a better time to invest in a solar energy system. Our list of recommended solar companies is a great starting point if you’ve been convinced, but keep in mind that every property is different. We encourage you to shop around and do some further research of your own into the best solar company for your needs. Happy hunting!
There are two main types of residential solar energy system: a grid-tied system and an off-grid system. A grid-tied system is connected to your local power grid, allowing you to sell any excess electricity which your solar panels generate back to your utility. An off-grid system is not connected to other utilities, and the excess electricity needs to be stored in batteries.
A grid-tied system is the best choice for most residential solar energy installations. For one, it’s cheaper to install since you don’t need to pay for extra batteries. You can also offset your utility bill by selling power through your local grid.
Yes, there is definitely enough sun to go around even in overcast Washington. The state’s long summer days are ideal for generating solar power, making up for the weak winter sunlight. Another bonus is that solar panels generally work better in lower outdoor temperatures like Washington’s. The state has also been actively investing in large-scale solar projects, like the 193 MW Lund Hill solar plant, a sign of how feasible solar power generation is in Washington.
Washington residents qualify for both the federal solar investment tax credit (ITC) and the state solar sales tax exemption. The ITC gives you a tax credit equal to 26% the cost of your solar installation, which directly lowers the amount of income tax you need to pay, while the state tax exemption means that you don’t need to pay sales tax on your solar installation.
While most roofs are capable of supporting the weight of a solar array, it’s better to be safe than sorry. Many solar companies offer free consultations which you can take advantage of to confirm the feasibility of installing solar panels. Older roofs or rooftops made out of certain woods occasionally need to be replaced before solar panels can be installed. In other cases, while your roof might be sturdy enough for a solar installation, it’s orientation might make solar panels inefficient for your property.
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