- Washington's renewable energy incentive program needs an overhaul now.
- Reps. Jeff Morris (D) and Norma Smith (R) have sponsored House Bill 2346.
- This bipartisan bill is designed to promote a sustainable, local renewable energy industry by modifying the current renewable energy system tax incentive program.
- HB 2346 will
- Renew and reform support for solar at a lower cost, ensuring that we continue to lead the effort to increase renewable energy at a time when it is most needed.
- Provide the stability that consumers, installers ,and manufacturers need in order to continue strong deployment of solar.
- Create certainty for new solar consumers by guaranteeing 10 years of incentive payments at a specified rate.
- Protect existing solar customers by closing the existing incentive program and freezing incentive rates for current participants in that program at the rate they received in their 2014-2015 payout.
- Contact your representatives today!
- SIW has provided an easy interface to send an email to your legislators. Just click here and enter your information to send a message to your state legislators urging them to pass HB 2346!
We need your help.
PSE net metering customers have been receiving notification that their production incentive payments might be reduced for the 2015-2016 fiscal year. OPALCO customers' production incentives were already reduced by about 40% for 2014-2015. Benton and other small PUDs have closed their incentive program to new applicants. SnoPUD will be contacting customers soon with information about the future of its incentive payments.
Utilities are reaching their incentive caps. Per the law, utilities may pay out up to 1/2% of their revenue or $100,000 in production incentives, whichever is greater. When the caps are reached, utilities must proportionally reduce incentive payments. Some utilities are opting to close the program instead. This is controversial, but because the incentive program is voluntary for utilities, it is not illegal to do so.
Several factors have contributed to utilities reaching their incentive caps. First, solar is a success in Washington. Solar growth has exponentiated. On average, homeowners and businesses are installing larger systems than they used to and they are specifying Washington-made equipment, which has a higher incentive rate. We also enjoyed a sunny and mild winter and spring that, while gorgeous, reduced utility revenues substantially, thus reducing their incentive payout caps.
What You Can Do
Last year solar stakeholders attempted to pass a bill that would close the existing production incentive program -- preserving the rates for customers -- and create a new incentive program. Solar Installers of Washington (SIW) is working with other solar stakeholders to pass a bill in the upcoming session. You can help. Here's how:
WSW Office Manager and SIW President
A grid-tied solar photovoltaic (PV) system is a low-maintenance electricity generator that relies on the ultimate renewable resource – the sun. In years past, families primarily installed solar for environmental reasons. Now, relatively low component costs and financial incentives are enticing families to install solar for economic reasons.
Here's a quick primer ...
How Solar Works
Savings and Incentives
PV system buyers are recovering the cost of their purchase in about 5 years when using Washington-made materials; about 10 years when using out-of-state equipment. Assuming a PV system will only last as long as the 25-year warranty of its modules –an extremely conservative assumption – that system will produce ‘free’ solar electricity for 15 – 20 years.
Low-interest loans are available for PV system purchases. Some rely on home equity. Others are secured by a lien on the PV system itself.
Solar and Home Value
A recent study led by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory found that a PV installation adds approximately $4 per watt to a home’s resale value. That’s about $20,000 for a 5 kW system. Homes with PV sell faster too.