Does Solar Work in the PNW?

Does Solar Work in the PNW?

Written by Chelsea W

Seasons! All of them! They are some of the many reasons we love the Pacific Northwest. It’s mild and beautiful year-round and with the changing of weeks and months come the stark changes in season. However, seasonal diversity also leaves us with a side effect that PNW is about as famous for—THE GREY. It can feel all-encompassing for several months out of every year and leaves many people questioning….


Does solar actually work in the northwest?


As anyone familiar with the PNW knows, our summers are generally soaked in sunshine. Blue skies, a warm breeze, not a single sock beneath a sandal. In most cases, a properly sized and placed solar energy system has the capacity to power your whole house and then some during our long summer days. Our relatively mild temperatures keep solar panels operating at their max efficiency (the hotter panels get the less efficient they become) and Plus with Washington’s net metering incentive, solar home owner’s electric meters will run backwards when their panels are producing excess energy and can carry those credits forward to the winter. I think we can all get behind the “magic” of solar during those incredible summer months—it’s the rest of the year that has people skeptical.

Though the looming cloud cover that appears through much of the year doesn’t always allow for maximum output, a grid-tied solar system will still significantly reduce energy demand, even in the drearier months. Furthermore, when you compare our annual amount of sunlight to other places in the world, Seattle actually receives 20% more annual sunlight than Germany, which is the world’s leader in solar energy production, and Seattle receives about 70% of the annual sunlight of Los Angeles.

Los Angeles 0

Seattle 0

Germany (world’s leader in solar energy production) 0

Still have unanswered questions about the viability of solar in our lovely corner or the earth? Leave them in the comments below!

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