Washington Poised to Increase Solar and the Bottom Line

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Jan 11, 2016

We have a chance in this short legislative session to finally renew and reform our ten-year old solar incentive program, starting with House Bill 2346, sponsored by Representatives Jeff Morris and Norma Smith.  If you will, please help with the effort to pass this legislation by CLICKING HERE.

In 2005 the Washington State Legislature created the Renewable Energy Cost Recovery Incentive Payment Program designed to help build a state solar manufacturing sector and assist Washington residents with putting solar systems on homes, commercial buildings and community facilities. Over the past ten years the solar incentive program has been enormously successful:

  • Helped deploy over 60 Megawatts in solar production. (Source: WSU Energy Program)
  • Assisted approximately 10,000 homes and businesses convert to solar. (Source: WSU Energy Program)
  • Helped create and sustain approximately 2,400 family wage jobs in both the installation and manufacturing sectors.

(Source: http://pre.thesolarfoundation.org/solarstates/washington)

The existing program successfully supports choices for consumers’ energy needs as well as a burgeoning solar industry, but is scheduled to expire in 2020. Without reasonable changes its effectiveness will be significantly reduced. To maintain the positive benefits of this program and continue the deployment of clean renewable energy systems while expanding energy choice for Washingtonians, we are proposing the following changes to the state’s solar incentive program:

  • More Jobs for Less Cost: Reduce the per kilowatt-hour incentive rate to reflect the current market and costs of solar systems while maintaining an in-state manufacturing incentive.
  • Continued Cost-Effectiveness: Reduce the incentive rate structure each year between 2016 and 2020.
  • Simplicity & Certainty for New Solar Consumers: Allow customers who seek a solar energy alternative for their home or business to receive 10 years of incentive payments at the same rate at which they enter the program.
  • Expand Utility Participation in Renewable Energy Options: Increase the per-utility incentive cap from .5% to 2% to allow continued solar deployment in early adoption utilities.
  • Protection for Existing Solar Customers: Allow consumers who are in the existing program now to maintain their existing incentive rates until 2020.
  • Increase State Revenues: Early elimination of the Sales Tax exemption for solar systems.

We will post progress from the effort as it happens. To read the bill, click here.

About The Author - Jeremy Smithson

Started Puget Sound Solar in 2001 with 30 years of construction contracting experience, and a desire to turn Seattle on to solar energy. Achieving NABCEP certification in 2004, Jeremy believes that our customers often follow a path similar to the one he took, starting out with solar daydreaming, then progressing to education on the subject, and eventually leading to action. In addition to leading the company he also does some teaching and speaking engagements about various aspects of solar energy, and experiments relentlessly with various solar, energy efficiency, and electric vehicle projects.

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