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Solar and Net Metering

Many customers choose to install their own electrical generation systems, like solar panels. Net metering involves the interconnection of electricity generating devices (i.e., solar panels) to the utility electric grid. Through the installation of a special non-detented meter that can spin both forward and backwards, net metered customers can purchase electricity from Tacoma Power when needed and send electricity generated by their system back onto the electric grid when they don’t have need for it.

When purchasing electricity the meter spins forward. When delivering electricity from their solar system back out onto the grid, the meter spins backward.  Customers are credited or charged for the “net” electricity shown at their next scheduled meter read.

For example, if a customer with a 1,000 Watt photovoltaic system generates 150 kWh in July, and also uses 600 kWh in their home that month, the net recorded on their utility meter is 450 kWh. The customer pays for 450 kWh on their utility bill. By displacing some of their electrical use with the electricity produced by their solar system, the customer receives the retail rate for the electricity produced by their solar system.

To start net metering, complete the following:

Submit these completed documents (including a copy of the electrical permit) to along with a one-line diagram of how your system works and manufacturer specification sheets for the solar modules and inverters used in the system.

Customer generation systems require a production meter. Installation requirements for production meters can be found here.

Not sure solar is right for you?

The Wattplan solar estimator is an independent third party tool designed by Clean Power Research to help customers make informed decisions about investing in solar.

State Renewable Energy System Incentive Program

From 2005 until 2017, Washington State offered incentives for renewable energy generated from registered renewable energy systems under the Renewable Energy Cost Recovery Incentive Program (RECRIP.) In 2017, the legislature lowered incentive rates for renewable energy production in exchange for extending the program beyond 2020 under the Renewable Energy System Incentive Program (RESIP.) Homeowners with solar electric systems registered with the WSU Energy Program prior to February 2019 will continue to receive incentives based on the program in which they are registered. Click here for more information on the Renewable Energy System Incentive Program.

Homeowners who did not have or did not register their systems with the WSU Energy Program prior to February 2019 are not eligible for state production incentives. However, customers who purchased their solar system after July 1, 2019 are eligible for a tax exemption on all sales tax paid on the purchase and installation of their solar system.  They are also eligible for the Federal Investment Tax Credit (ITC) in effect until 2021. Click here to learn more about the ITC.