Is The Northwest Too Wet For Solar Energy?

Don’t let the name fool you. Solar energy isn’t only reserved for homes and businesses in year-round sunny climates. Solar energy is for anyone with a desire to create a more sustainable, energy-efficient home. Conventional wisdom says the Pacific Northwest is too wet to receive any real benefit from solar energy. But modern solar photovoltaic panels can collect energy in all types of weather.

“Germany is the worldwide leader in solar energy, and the country has a very similar climate and resources as Oregon,” says Jason Benfit, Neil Kelly Solar General Manager in Portland.

The first step in getting your home or business ready for solar is to schedule a complimentary solar assessment. A Neil Kelly energy specialist will check the site for solar resources and whether or not the roof can support a system. Next, the technician will check the unit’s power bill.

“Solar electric systems vary greatly in size based on the home or business’s heating equipment and appliances used,” says Coughran. “But today’s modern systems let you get the most bang for your buck. The cost of the panels has decreased so much in the last seven years, but the power has doubled to 300-watt panels for most projects.”

A grid of modern solar panels on top of a residential roof.
Above: Modern solar panels collect energy in all types of weather.

How Solar Performs in the Pacific Northwest

While the Pacific Northwest is known for its cloudy weather, solar systems actually perform quite well here for a number of reasons. 

First, solar is the area’s leading renewable energy resource, and we receive the same amount of solar energy per year as the national average. Second, our area’s long summer days make up for our cloudy winters, with 60% of our solar power produced during the summer months and 20% during the rainy season. Third, the Pacific Northwest’s average temperature aligns perfectly with the best temperature for solar, which is 77 degrees. Lastly, even on cloudy days, solar energy systems are still working to collect scattered light and channel it into power.

Will Solar Work With Your Home?

Before deciding to purchase a solar system, an important first step is determining whether solar panels will work with your home. The main consideration is the roof, which may not be suitable for solar panels due to age, roof angle, or the amount of tree cover. Solar consultants will evaluate your roof and consider when it will need to be replaced—the preference is 10 years of remaining life for your roof. Additional considerations are your roof’s shape, size, and slope; solar panels tend to work best on south-facing roofs with a 15 to 40-degree slope, but other angles and orientations can work well too.

“At Neil Kelly we not only do solar, but roofing and retrofitting as well,” says Benfit. “So, if you’ve been told that your home is too old for solar, or you can’t find a company to replace your roof and install your panels, Neil Kelly can take care of you from start to finish, no matter the age of your home.”

Solar Tax Incentives

Adding solar to your home is a big decision. However, with today’s generous financial incentives and the reduced PV panel costs, there has never been a better time to plug into the power of solar.

LOCAL CASH INCENTIVES: Up to $11,000 per household
FEDERAL TAX CREDIT: 30% of system cost after incentives*
COMBINED CASH INCENTIVES: Could offset up to 70% of system cost 

Installing solar on your home or business is a great investment, adds more value to your property, and gets you locked into current, and often, wildly changing energy prices to generate clean solar energy for decades.

Choose Neil Kelly to Install Your Solar Energy System

Is your home or business ready for solar? We specialize in the design, installation, and maintenance of residential and commercial solar energy systems—backed by a 10-year warranty—and can help you access tax credits and incentives that can pay half of the cost of installing the system in many areas.

Neil Kelly is proud to install top-performing system components from industry leaders such as SolarWorld, the largest American solar manufacturer based out of Hillsboro, Oregon.

Talk to a solar energy specialist today.