Solar Power in the Pacific Northwest – The Myths and the Facts

Solar power is perhaps the best option for generating clean energy on a small scale. With most of the third world facing electricity shortages, it is the developed countries that are looking at massive power conservation. And solar power is rightly receiving a lot of attention.

What exactly is solar power? Simply put, it is the generation of electricity by using sunlight as the source. Solar power, if channeled in the way it needs to be, has the power to generate more than enough electricity than the world actually requires.  

Many people considering solar power are concerned about how suited their climate is to efficiently producing the energy they need from solar panels. People commonly ask themselves, “If it’s cloudy a lot where I live, will I be able to generate enough energy to meet my needs, and will it at least be a financially viable option?” This is the common question asked in the Pacific Northwest and many people assume the answer is no without bothering to do any research.

Oregon and Washington are at higher latitude than most climates that receive a substantial amount of sunlight. Even though this area receives less hours of sunlight annually than Los Angeles for example, solar panels are actually a great option for people in the Pacific Northwest. Here’s why.

It is a little known fact that solar panels work more efficiently in cooler climates which makes the Pacific Northwest one of the ideal places to install solar panels. The place receives ample amount of sunlight all through its long summers and this can be effectively channeled towards producing large amounts of solar power. Many homeowners in Seattle that use solar panels produce more than enough electricity in the summer time to meet their needs. This allows them to offset their energy use in the winter, substantially reducing their energy bills. You can do this because of net metering, which generates credits with your utility provider that can then be sold back to the utility.

Believe it or not, most of the Northwest receives about 70% of the sunlight that Los Angeles does annually. This is more than enough sunlight to make your investment in solar worthwhile. Most people who have established solar panels in their homes and workplaces in the Northwest are satisfied and suggest it for people who are still on the fence about whether or not to install solar panels.  

Germany is the world’s leader in solar power. But did you know that they actually receive less sunlight than the Pacific Northwest? Most of the country has a higher latitude than that of the Puget Sound, but over 50% of the world’s solar energy is being produced there. Additionally, Oregon and Washington have some of the best incentive programs in the country when it comes to solar energy.

More and more people are trying solar power as a serious alternative for electricity generation. If you live in Portland, The Willamette Valley, Seattle, or anywhere else in the Pacific Northwest, consider making the investment in solar panels. There are many ways in which you can ‘go green’ and this is one of the most effective ways to do so. And there is nothing like saving a bundle of money in the process of cutting back your impact on the planet.

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