The Numbers Are In: the Rise of Solar in Washington State

Posted by Samantha on September 29th, 2014

As we have spoken about several times in this blog, the Pacific Northwest is one of the best places in the country to install solar. Between our moderate climate, sunny summers, fantastic local incentives, and low maintenance, installing solar in Washington has never been easier or more profitable for homeowners, and we can prove it! SolTerra asked three of the major Washington State utilities - PSE, Seattle City Light, and Snohomish PUD - how many grid-tied solar customers they have on file to date, and how that compares to eight years, five years, or even two years ago. The numbers are astonishing- take a look below!

Seattle City Light

At the end of 2006, Seattle City Light reported a mere 60 solar installations. However, by the end of 2013, that number had inflated drastically to more than 1,126 installs, and continues to grow. By the end of July 2014, Seattle City Light had reported 301 new solar installations, more solar installed than the ENTIRE year of 2012 and bringing their grand total to 1,427 (with half the year still left to go).


End of 2006 (Running Total Installations):             60
End of 2013 (Running Total Installations):             1,126
End of July 2014 (Running Total Installations):      1,427

Total installed in 2012:                                            234
Total installed in 2013:                                            452
Total installed in 2014 (YTD as of end of July):      301

Puget Sound Energy


Puget Sounds Energy customers saw an even larger increase than Seattle City Light over the last eight years. Starting their reporting with 83 solar customers at the close of 2006, this number doubled in 2007, and as of July 2014, PSE boasts 2,188 solar customers to date, and growing every day!

End of 2006 (Running Total Installations):             83
End of 2013 (Running Total Installations):             1,906
End of July 2014 (Running Total Installations):      2,188

Total installed in 2012:                                            336
Total installed in 2013:                                            659
Total installed in 2014 (YTD as of end of July):      282




The graph above lists 2,101 installs YTD, but this tally is only inclusive through June 2014. When we take into account the July numbers provided to us directly from PSE, the 2,101 increases to 2,188, adding 87 installations in the month of July alone!

Snohomish County PUD

Snohomish County PUD (affectionately referred to as SnoPUD) serves a much larger area of the state, but despite its vast and rural landscape, still follows in the footsteps of its more metropolitan brothers, SCL and PSE, with regards to solar installations. Beginning with a scant 15 solar customers at the end of 2006, that number has quickly risen to 430 customers (a total of 2.3 MW of solar!) by the end of 2013. As of July 2014, the number of new installations this year had almost eclipsed the number of installs in ALL of 2012, bringing SnoPUD to a total of 520 solar customers to date!

End of 2006 (Running Total Installations):             15
End of 2013 (Running Total Installations):             430
End of July 2014 (Running Total Installations):      520

Total installed in 2012:                                            100
Total installed in 2013:                                            145
Total installed in 2014 (YTD as of end of July):       90


If hard numbers straight from your local utility isn't enough to convince your northern neighbors that solar is on the rise, a recent study published by the US Department of Energy might: these findings suggest that while solar only occupies .2% of the energy market right now, it could easily grow to 10% in less than ten years

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