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Thurston County, Washington

The content on the Thurston County website is currently provided in English. We are providing the “Translation” for approximately 10 languages. The goal of the translation is to provide visitors with limited English proficiency to access information on the website in other languages. The translations do not translate all types of documents, and it may not give you an exact translation all the time. The translations are made through an automated process, which may not result in accurate or precise translations, particularly of technical and legal terminology.

Board of County Commissioners

Thurston County supports solar energy!

Thurston County is committed to helping our residents and businesses realize the benefits of clean, renewable energy. We received a Silver designation from the national SolSmart program for making it faster, easier, and more affordable for homes and businesses to go solar.

Solar energy is an important strategy of the Thurston Climate Mitigation Plan to help reduce the County’s greenhouse gas emissions. Installing solar panels can also save you money through reduced utility bills.   

Thinking about going solar? View our frequently asked questions below to learn more about installing solar panels on your home or business.

SolSmart Silver logo

Thurston County is SolSmart

When is a permit required?

There is no permit required for residential rooftop solar systems in Thurston County!

Ground-mounted and commercial systems DO require County permits.

Please see our Solar PV Permitting & Zoning Fact Sheet to learn more.

Note: In Washington, all solar PV installations (including residential rooftop) are subject to electrical permits through Washington State Labor and Industries (LNI):

Frequently Asked Questions

If you’re just getting started, you can investigate the solar potential of your property by entering your address on Project Sunroof. You can also estimate the performance of potential photovoltaic (PV) projects using the National Renewable Energy Laboratory’s PVWatts Calculator.

These are helpful tools for understanding your solar potential, but they do not replace the expertise of having a professional solar installer assess your property.  

Some factors that may impact the suitability of your roof for solar include: 

  • Direction: South facing is ideal though east and west facing roofs may still produce significant amounts of electricity. 
  • Shading: Solar panels should have direct access to the sun with limited shading. Nearby buildings, trees, hills or other roof features can reduce the amount of sunlight reaching your solar system.  
  • Pitch: The ideal roof angle is between 20 and 35 degrees though steeper and flatter roofs may still work.

If a solar installer determines that your roof is not suitable for solar, or you don’t own your own home, you can still access the benefits of solar energy by enrolling in a community-solar project. Community solar is a solar-ownership structure where a group of community members participate in a single solar project and share its benefits.  

Olympia Community Solar and Puget Sound Energy both offer local community solar projects in Thurston County.

There is no permit required for residential rooftop solar systems in Thurston County!

Ground-mounted and commercial systems DO require County permits.

Please see our Solar PV Permitting & Zoning Fact Sheet to learn more.

Find a local solar contractor to assess your home for solar energy and provide a quote. Site assessments are typically free. It is a good idea to get two or three quotes to compare before choosing a contractor.  

Helpful resources:

Local installers*

A&R Solar


Capstone Solar


Graham Electric


Mad Energy NW


South Sound Solar


Sunset Air Incorporated


*Local installers are defined here as any solar installation company that is based in Thurston County, includes Thurston County as part of its primary service region, or has a statewide service region.

If you are a local solar installer that meets these criteria and would like to be added to this list, please contact

In most cases, your monthly solar loan payments will be smaller than your typical energy costs. Your solar provider can help you identify how many panels you will need and estimate your monthly costs or savings.

Download A Homeowners Guide to Solar Financing

Local lenders*:

Generations Credit Union – EZ Solar Loans


Puget Sound Cooperative Credit Union – Energy Smart Loans


Verity Credit Union – Solar Energy Loans


*The local lenders listed here specialize in solar-specific loans for homeowners. If you are a loan provider, that provides solar-specific loans in Thurston County, and would like to be added to this list, please contact

Community Property Assessed Clean Energy and Resiliency (C-PACER) Financing Program

C-PACER is an alternative loan program that allows owners of eligible commercial, agricultural, industrial, and multi-family properties to seek long-term financing from a private-capital provider for energy efficiency, renewable energy and resiliency improvements. C-PACER loans are tied to the property, rather than the owner, through an annual property assessment managed by a third-party capital provider. In 2021, the Thurston County Board of Commissioners passed a C-PACER ordinance, enabling commercial property owners in Olympia and Thurston County to access this innovative financing tool. Please visit Thurston County’s C-PACER page to learn more and apply.

Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) Renewable Energy Systems & Energy Efficiency Improvement Guaranteed Loans & Grants

REAP provides guaranteed loan financing and grant funding to agricultural producers and rural small businesses for renewable energy systems or for energy-efficiency improvements. Agricultural producers may also apply for new energy-efficient equipment and new system loans for agricultural production and processing.

Federal income tax credit

With the passage of the Inflation Reduction Act in August 2022, the Investment Tax Credit (ITC) was raised to 30% for solar energy systems installed between 2022 and 2032. The ITC will decrease to 26% for systems installed in 2033 and to 22% for systems installed in 2034. The tax credit expires starting in 2035 unless Congress renews it. There is no maximum amount that can be claimed.

Tax-exempt organizations including nonprofits, governmental agencies, tribes, and schools may claim the credit through a direct-pay option.

Net metering

Net metering allows owners of grid-connected, renewable-energy systems to receive credit for excess electricity produced by their systems. Net-metered systems that produce more electricity than needed are credited for the excess production at retail-electric rates on the next month’s utility bill. Credits in Washington state carry forward month to month but not year to year. Credits zero out on March 31, at which point a new net-metering year begins.

State sales-tax exemption

The State of Washington provides a sales-tax exemption on all equipment, labor and services related to the installation of solar systems generating less than 100 kW of electricity (most homes only require a 5 to 12 kW system). This exemption applies to installations from July 1, 2019, through December 31, 2029.

The Thurston County Development Code does not explicitly permit accessory-use roof-mounted solar PV systems as a by-right or allowed use. However, roof-mounted and ground-mounted solar energy systems will be approved as accessory uses in all zoning districts provided they meet the definition of accessory use and the property is in compliance with all Thurston County Codes and Ordinances. For more information, please see our Solar PV Permitting and Zoning Fact Sheet.

Historic Properties

Historic properties have no additional requirements for solar energy systems beyond what is described above. Owners of historic properties shall engage with the Thurston County Historic Commission on any external additions to maintain their historic designation.

Homeowner's Associations

In the state of Washington, a homeowner’s association may issue guidelines related to the visibility and aesthetics of solar-panel placement but may not prohibit a resident or owner from installing solar panels if the panels meet these criteria.

Solar Easements

A solar easement allows property owners to legally protect their access to sunlight for a solar-energy system. In Washington, property owners may enter into voluntary solar easements to ensure adequate sunlight for their solar-energy system. Without a formal easement, property owners are not able to require the removal of obstructions on adjacent properties.

Learn More 

Visit these pages to learn about solar statistics and solar policy in Washington: