We may be all dressed up and lookin’ fine, but we can’t make headway. Yesterday the Washington Legislature finally agreed on a budget, but an extension of the solar incentives was nowhere to be seen. After two years of blood, sweat, and tears, 2,400 solar jobs in Washington are in jeopardy.
It has been apparent for some time that the elected representatives of the residents of Washington are increasingly migrating to the extremes, and in equal numbers, so much so that our policies are not keeping up with the times. That dynamic is, in part, to blame for the disappointing results of our efforts, along with other factors having to do with the legislative process.
We will make another pass at this, although next session will be a short one, and we will also diversify our efforts into other avenues to pursue continued support for clean energy now. Of high priority is an extension of the federal tax credits for solar that are set to expire/revert at the end of 2016. Local incentives such as those offered by Snohomish PUD are another way to stimulate the market. Whatever the case, in the next 18 months there will be an explosion of distributed solar projects as people secure their place in the current incentive regime ‘before it ends’.