*Solar panel cost varies by location, solar panel mqanufacturer, system size and the amount of electricity your home uses.
There are three ways you can reduce your TPU bill: changing your habits, switching your rate plan, and adding solar panels.
You've probably heard a lot about reducing energy consumption by doing things like switching to LED lightbulbs and adding insulation to your walls, but these fixes are relatively easy compared to the far more impactful step of making changes to your lifestyle.
The second thing you can do is switch your rate plan. TPU doesn't offer time-of-use billing that can help you save money by shifting your usage of energy-intensive appliances to off-peak hours, but there may be other options for you .
Finally, you can reduce or even eliminate your electricity bill by installing solar panels on your home.
For some people, the savings from switching rate plans may only be a few dollars per month, but for many it can be $20-$100 per month. That's between $240 and $1,200 that you may now be paying to Tacoma Public Utilities each year for no reason.
Finding out what's available to you is as simple as a phone call or email to Tacoma Public Utilities. Even a small savings can be worth it.
Probably not. Washingtonians enjoy extremely low electricity prices because of the state's vast hydroelectric generation resources. This is very good for your pocketbook as a utility customer, but it means that solar panels pay you back much less here than they do for people in other states. Add to that the fact the TPU's service territory is awfully cloudy during much of the year, and you get an equation that doesn't add up.
Yes, Tacoma Public Utilities offers 1 for 1 net metering. This means you are paid the same rate for excess solar energy that you export to the utility grid during the middle of the day as what you pay for power purchased from the grid.
In the case of Tacoma Public Utilities, this is approximately $0.08 per kWh.
The major financial incentive currently available until the end of 2021 is the 26% federal solar tax credit. The way this works is that the full cost of the system needs to be paid to the installer, and this tax credit can then be claimed back as cash when you next do your taxes.
Many states, local governments and utilities also offer incentives for homeowners who go solar. This help can take the form of state tax credits, rebates, tax breaks, SRECs or even performance-based incentives. The best part is that all of these incentives apply in addition to the federal credit.
Here is every incentive you may be eligible for as a TPU customer:
|Residential Renewable Energy Tax Credit (Federal)||-$6,171|
Renewable Energy Sales and Use Tax Exemption
Sales and use tax not applied to machinery/equipment used to generate at least 1 kW but no more than 100 kW of electricity with solar energy.
All utilities must offer net metering, credited at retail rate and carried over month-to-month. Excess credits surrendered to utility on April 30 of each calendar year.
*Based on 10.18 kW system, average installation cost $23,735
If you input the details for a TPU customer with a power bill of $200 per month into the best online solar panels calculator, it tells you that you need a 10.18 kW solar system that will produce 14,226 kWh per year and that this system will return the owner a $52,454 profit after repaying the cost of the system.
The solar savings possible for you as a TPU customer will depend on the amount of electricity you use and the cost of the solar system you buy. Savings also vary based on the direction of your roof or any shading of your roof that affects output.
Here is a monthly and lifetime solar savings estimate for the same relatively typical TPU customer with a $200 per month electric bill prior to solar and who installs a 10.18 kW solar system.
Showing data for:
Prices based on a 8.6kW system, after 26% federal tax credit
System Size (for 100% usage offset)
Annual Power Generation
Pay-back time (assuming Cash purchase)
Internal Rate of Return (IRR) on Investment
Total Upfront Incentives and Rebates
Net Cost of System after rebates and incentives
Total Cost of Utility Power Avoided over 25 years
While most homeowners decide to install solar panels because of financial savings over time, the environmental impacts of this choice are the primary motive for others. Here is a breakdown of the environmental benefits from a Tacoma Public Utilities customer installing a 10.18 kW solar system on their property:A solar system generating 14,226 kWh per year will save you money AND make the world a nicer place
The cost of installing solar panels will vary with brands of solar panels and inverters you choose and also the installation company you choose to install them.
It is common to see really good systems, using quality brands of equipment, being sold for around $2.33 per watt or $12,069 for a standard 10.18 kW solar system after the customer claims the 26% federal solar tax credit.
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