Community Solar   Rooftop Solar   Green Power Program  

Is solar right for you?

Installing a solar system on your property may make sense if you own your home or business and want to make a long-term investment in solar.  A solar installer will be able to analyze your property to determine an appropriate size and location.  Solar systems are available for purchase or lease.  If you plan to lease, make sure to review the terms and conditions of the agreement.

Benton PUD's Rooftop Solar Frequently Asked Questions


Solar Economics - Estimated PayBack

Calculating the payback on an investment in solar depends on a number of variables:

  • Solar system size (i.e. number of panels)
  • Equipment maintenance costs
  • Location of solar panels
  • Installation costs
  • Federal incentives
  • State incentives
  • Future energy rates
  • Inflation

For example, the payback for a 7kW system (which takes up about 300 sqft of space) with 15% capacity factor at a cost of $4.00 per watt installed is 7.1 years.  This assumes the system is installed in 2018, is eligible to receive both the state incentive (for eight years) and federal investment tax credit and has an estimated 25 year life.  The chart below shows estimated cash flow and value of a system over its 25 year life.
 

Solar-Incentive-Payback

DISCLAIMER:  The estimate above shows a simple payback period (number of years to recover the initial investment) and the percentage offset of an average residential customer’s annual energy consumption.  BENTON PUD IN NO WAY GUARANTEES THE FIGURES DISPLAYED ABOVE


Benton PUD's Net Metering Program

Benton PUD's Net Metering program lets you install a renewable energy system (solar panels or windmill) to offset your energy needs.  You receive full retail rate credit each month for generation from your system.  Excess generation at the end of each bill period is carried over to the next bill period as a credit.  On April 30 of each year, any excess generation accumulated is given back to Benton PUD.

Net-Metering
 

Enrolling in Benton PUD's Net Metering Program

When installing solar panels, please follow these steps to enroll in our net metering program. 

Note:  Please consult Benton PUD for systems over 100 kW.

  1. Contact a solar installer- make sure they are properly licensed, bonded and have experience interconnecting systems in Washington State. 
  2. Complete and submit the following:
    1. Net Metering Application with Production Incentives Risk Acknowledgment form
    2. Net Metering Interconnection Agreement.  See Benton PUD Net Metering Interconnection Standards
    3. Electrical schematic drawing.  See sample Benton PUD Electrical schematic drawing
    4. Verification that your inverter is UL1741 listed
  3. Submit a Net Metering Certificate of Completion to Benton PUD.  To obtain a Net Metering Certificate of Completion you must have an inspection completed by both Benton PUD and Washington State Labor & Industries.  Once completed, Benton PUD will schedule the installation of a bi-directional meter on the main electric service and a production meter on the solar system.

Note:  To be eligible to receive a state production incentive you will need to complete and submit a Renewable Energy System Cost Recovery Certification to the Washington State University Energy Program.  You will be required to provide the following technical information about your system including tilt, shading and azimuth.  In addition, you will have to supply supporting documentation including a copy of the signed interconnection agreement, one-line schematic drawing, final electrical inspection documentation and final invoice with total cost paid for the renewable energy system. Your contractor will be able to assist in the certification process. When completing the certification, please request that Benton PUD receive a copy.

If you have any questions during your enrollment process contact Engineering at (509) 582-1230.