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Incentives/Policies for Renewables & Efficiency

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Net Metering   

Last DSIRE Review: 09/10/2014
Program Overview:
State: Washington
Incentive Type: Net Metering
Eligible Renewable/Other Technologies: Solar Thermal Electric, Photovoltaics, Wind, Hydroelectric, Fuel Cells, CHP/Cogeneration, Small Hydroelectric, Fuel Cells using Renewable Fuels
Applicable Sectors: Commercial, Industrial, Residential, Nonprofit, Schools, Local Government, State Government, Multi-Family Residential, Institutional
Applicable Utilities:All utilities
System Capacity Limit:100 kW
Aggregate Capacity Limit:0.5% of utility's 1996 peak demand
Net Excess Generation:Credited to customer's next bill at retail rate; granted to utility at end of 12-month billing period
REC Ownership:Customer owns RECs
Meter Aggregation:Allowed
Web Site:
Authority 1:
Date Enacted:
Rev. Code Wash. ยง 80.60

Washington's net-metering law applies to systems up to 100 kilowatts (kW) in capacity that generate electricity using solar, wind, hydro, biogas from animal waste, or combined heat and power technologies (including fuel cells). All customer classes are eligible, and all utilities -- including municipal utilities and electric cooperatives -- must offer net metering.

Net metering is available on a first-come, first-served basis until the cumulative generating capacity of net-metered systems equals 0.5% of a utility’s peak demand during 1996.* At least one-half of the utility’s available aggregate net metering capacity is reserved for systems generating electricity using renewables.

Although the utility must provide a single, bi-directional meter, the customer must provide the current transformer enclosure (if required), the meter socket or sockets, and junction box. Net excess generation (NEG) is credited to the customer’s next bill at the utility’s retail rate. However, on April 30 of each calendar year, any remaining NEG is surrendered to the utility without compensation to the customer. Meter aggregation, the combination of readings from and billings for all meters on property owned or leased by a customer within a single utility's service territory, is provided at a customer's request. (Meter aggregation is limited to 100 kW per customer.) The electricity produced by a meter-aggregated customer is first used to offset electricity provided by the utility to that customer; any excess kilowatt-hours from a billing period will be credited equally to the customer's remaining meters.

Net-metered systems must include all equipment necessary to meet applicable safety, power quality and interconnection requirements established by the National Electric Code, the National Electric Safety Code, the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE) and Underwriters Laboratories (UL). Utilities may not require net-metered customers to comply with additional safety or performance standards, or to purchase additional liability insurance. Utilities also may not charge customers any additional standby, capacity, interconnection, or other fee or charge without approval from the Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission (UTC). Utilities are not liable for damage caused by net-metered systems.

Taking advantage of Washington's Renewable Energy Production Incentives does not reduce or impact savings achieved through net metering. However, utilities may require separate metering for production, and customers must pay all costs associated with the installation of production metering. While the ownership of renewable energy credits (RECs) associated with generation is not specified in the state's net-metering law, the production incentive law states that customer-generators retain ownership of RECs.

*The aggregate capacity limit was 0.25% in previous years, and increased to 0.5% on January 1, 2014.

  Phil Lou
Washington State University
Extension Energy Program
PO Box 43165
905 Plum St SE Bldg #4
Olympia, WA 98504-3165
Phone: (360) 956-2132
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Disclaimer: The information presented on the DSIRE web site provides an unofficial overview of financial incentives and other policies. It does not constitute professional tax advice or other professional financial guidance, and it should not be used as the only source of information when making purchasing decisions, investment decisions or tax decisions, or when executing other binding agreements. Please refer to the individual contact provided below each summary to verify that a specific financial incentive or other policy applies to your project.

While the DSIRE staff strives to provide the best information possible, the DSIRE staff, the N.C. Solar Center, N.C. State University and the Interstate Renewable Energy Council, Inc. make no representations or warranties, either express or implied, concerning the accuracy, completeness, reliability or suitability of the information. The DSIRE staff, the N.C. Solar Center, N.C. State University and the Interstate Renewable Energy Council, Inc. disclaim all liability of any kind arising out of your use or misuse of the information contained or referenced on DSIRE Web pages.

Copyright 2014 - 2015 North Carolina State University, under NREL Subcontract No. XEU-0-99515-01. Permission granted only for personal or educational use, or for use by or on behalf of the U.S. government. North Carolina State University prohibits the unauthorized display, reproduction, sale, and/or distribution of all or portions of the content of the Database of State Incentives for Renewables and Efficiency (DSIRE) without prior, written consent.