SolarReviews | District Of Columbia Solar Power Rebates and Incentives

Solar Power Rebates, Tax Credits and Solar Panel Incentives in Washington DC; 2012 Update Washington DC has great solar policies to support both residential and commercial customers to purchase a solar power system. State Solar Rebate Washington DC offers a state rebate of $1,50 per watt for the first 3 kw of solar, $1.00 per watt for the next 7 kw and then $0.50 per kilowatt for solar panels above 10kw. There is a maximum rebate level of $16,500 per site, per program year. So for our standard 5kw solar power system this would give an up-front rebate of $6,500.00 This is very, very generous.   Net Metering Washington DC has a 1:1 net metering policy meaning that owners of solar power systems up to 100 kw get the full retail vale for each kwh of power they feed into the grid. Systems must only be sized so that they match total consumption as credits are carried. With current average electricity prices around 11 cents per kilowatt hour and increasing then this means you get paid at least that much for your solar electricity you feed back into the grid. Solar Renewable Energy certificates Under D.C. law, a solar renewable energy credit (SREC), is equivalent to one megawatt-hour (MWh) of electricity derived from an eligible solar resource. Electricity suppliers must purchase SRECs in order to meet their compliance obligations under the law, or pay a Solar Alternative Compliance Payment (SACP) for any shortfalls in SREC purchases. The SACP operates as a ceiling on the price that a supplier would pay for SRECs used for compliance with the D.C. RPS. The SACP is set at a flat rate of $500 per MWh. The value of an SREC varies based on market conditions, but as of March 2012 sales of D.C.-sourced SRECs averaged $320 per MWh. Under this system SRECs represent a potentially significant source of revenue for owners of qualifying solar facilities with a value determined by demand in the trading market. In D.C., net metering customers retain ownership of SRECs (or RECs) unless they agree to transfer them. A generator remains eligible to generate SRECs for as long as the facility remains certified as an eligible generator. SRECs have a three-year lifetime from the date they are created. In other words, an SREC may generally be used (i.e., retired) for compliance by an obligated electricity supplier for up to three years after the date it is created. In order to begin producing D.C.-eligible SRECs, generators must be certified by the D.C. Public Service Commission (PSC) as an eligible generator.* How to work out how much your SREC's are worth. As an SREC is equivalent to 1 MWh of electricity production then you need to know how much a solar power system installed in the District of Columbia will generate. Remember this will depend on the site you are installing the solar panels on but generally with an un-shaded, south facing installation 1kw of solar panels installed in Washington DC will produce around 1100 kwh per year, or 1.1 MWh. As such if you installed a 5 kw system you would get 5.5 SREC's per year for your solar power which, based on current SREC prices of $320 would give you an annual income of $1,760. So lets take a look at what the return looks like for a 5kw system installed in Washington, DC.

Size of System (kw)  


Space required (square feet)


Price of system per watt  


Price of power (marginal cost high usage kwh's) $ per kwh  


Average daily kwh produced per 1 kw of solar  


Total average daily production  


Total Price (before incentives)  


Federal Tax Credit  


State Tax Credit    
State Rebate  


Actual out of pocket cost after incentives claimed  


Annual Power production  


Total Annual Energy savings based on net metering at 1:1  


Annual income from SREC's based on $300 per SREC  


Total Annual Return  


Annual Return on Investment  


Payback Time assuming no increase in power prices   2.5 years

Wow!!!. I can't believe how strong the support is for solar in Washington DC. This is the shortest payback period in the country. I suggest that DC customers should get quotes from local solar installers as soon as possible because I don't think these generous solar incentives are likely to last that long. I would not be at all surprised if the up front incentive was cut before the end of 2012.

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