A substitute version of 1048 passed the House Technology & Economic Development Committee last week by a 14-2 margin. 1048 is designed to reform the current production incentive program and provide more certainty for the Washington solar industry and consumers, alike, while supporting a strong and growing jobs sector in our state. More on 1048.
The bill now resides in the Finance Committee where a public hearing is scheduled for Friday, March 10 at 8am (subject to change). Watch the hearing on TVW.
Solar industry personnel, solar customers and other solar supporters converged upon Olympia February 23 to meet with legislators urging support for HB 1048 designed to reform the current production incentive program and provide more certainty for the solar industry and consumers moving forward. Constituents met with lawmakers in over 70 meetings at the State Capitol to underscore solar's contribution to Washington's economy and the importance of provding the conditions to meet the ongoing demand for solar by Washingtonians.
Photo below courtesy of SIW. Check out SIW on Facebook for more photos from Solar Lobby Day.
Dozens of solar supporters from throughout Washington are expected to converge on Olympia February 23, 2017 in an effort to encourage their elected officials to support HB 1048 designed to reform the incentive program and provide more certainty for the solar industry.
As of this writing, HB 1048 remains alive in the House Technology & Economic Development Committee in an "necessary to implement the budget" (NTIB) status. Click for an update on HB 1048.
Last year, the Washington State Legislature failed to reauthorize our state’s popular solar program. Solar is a great investment for Washington homeowners and businesses, and like any other investment, people deserve clear, simple rules. SIW has spearheaded a far-reaching grassroots effort to garner support throughout Washington via its #SolarStrong campaign.
View a side-by-side comparison of the current program versus the proposed bill draft to begin the 2017 legislative session. (PDF file)
Passing I-732 is essential to helping Washington meet its statutory greenhouse gas reduction targets by building more clean energy.
(October 17, 2016)--SEATTLE--Solar Installers of Washington (SIW), the local voice of solar contractors, announced today its support for Initiative 732, a revenue-neutral carbon tax measure appearing on the ballot this November. I-732 is designed to move the state toward two goals – cleaner energy and fairer taxes – by shifting the tax burden associated with the state’s investment in clean energy onto fossil fuel polluters and away from Washington families and businesses.
“A price on carbon pollution is an essential step toward leveling the playing field for clean solar energy versus harmful fossil fuels,” said Dave Kozin, co-founder of SIW and CFO of Seattle-based A&R Solar. “I-732 would set a strong and steadily rising price on major carbon polluters while also reducing taxes on retail sales and in-state manufacturing of clean energy technologies. The tax swap will create good local jobs and strengthen the financial argument for installing solar while keeping cost impacts to the state at or near zero dollars.”
SIW member companies will take action in support of the ballot initiative between now and Election Day by gathering pledges for I-732 and educating the more than 10,000 solar energy system owners across Washington about the initiative and encouraging them to vote yes on 732.
I-732 is not the only important solar-related issue being discussed this election. Solar growth in Washington has been fueled by a production incentive program originally passed in 2006. This program has been very successful at helping to make solar more affordable for more people and is long overdue for an update. While the current incentive program allows communities, individuals and businesses who invest in solar to receive up to $5,000 each year for their production of solar energy, solar has proven so popular that many utilities have reached their funding caps and are blocking new customers from entering the program.
SIW is leading the charge to ensure a new bill is passed during the 2017 legislative session to breathe new life into the currently outdated program. The proposed changes would reduce the incentive amount that solar systems receive while expanding the pool of funding so that more people, businesses, and communities can go solar. It would also prevent existing solar customers from seeing further incentive rate dilutions, a problem that legislators have yet to resolve under the current program.
Washington’s solar industry has seen exponential growth in recent years, including the creation of hundreds of living-wage, sustainable green jobs. Both passing I-732 and updating the solar incentive program will help ensure Washington continues to see the growth and benefits that clean energy brings to our state.
To learn more about Initiative 732, visit yeson732.org, or for a detailed analysis about the initiative, see this three-part analysis of I-732 published by Sightline Institute, an independent sustainability research center. And for more information about the proposed changes to the solar incentive program, visit solarstrongwa.org.
Solar Installers of Washington (SIW) is a professional trade association representing the common business interests of solar installation companies across Washington state. SIW educates legislators and regulators while promoting public understanding about the impacts of policies related to solar energy.
SIW is pleased to welcome Bonnie Frye Hemphill as its Legislative Liaison. This is a critical role in SIW’s efforts to build grassroots momentum behind solar legislation.
The Legislative Liaison will cultivate and maintain relationships among key legislators, solar home and business owners, utility representatives, and other solar stakeholders. Together, these groups articulate the success story that is solar in Washington and speak up for solar legislation in our state.
Bonnie has devoted a decade to making clean energy accessible for all. In addition to her role with SIW, she is a solar designer for Seattle-based A&R Solar. Bonnie worked as associate director for E2Tech, the Environmental & Energy Technology Council of Maine, connecting green entrepreneurs with mentors, investors, and peers across New England. Bonnie also helped run Business Leaders for Climate Solutions in Seattle.
Bonnie served in the Public Engagement Office of the White House Council on Environmental Quality, and as the digital director at the Yale Project on Climate Change Communication. She is also a Political Partner on climate security with the Truman National Security Project.
For SIW, Bonnie will develop and implement a communications plan to ensure the ideas and concerns of solar stakeholders are heard. This will include media outreach, solar education events, and face-to-face meetings between solar stakeholders and policy leaders.
"Bonnie is a valuable addition to our policy team. She brings enthusiasm as well as experience to the effort to build our state’s energy sector with clean, affordable energy for home and business owners. Her work will be a necessary component of our legislative strategy going forward,” adds SIW Policy Director Jeremy Smithson.
Solar Installers of Washington applauds the Washington State House of Representatives for strong bipartisan support of revised solar incentive program
Solar Installers of Washington appreciates the bipartisan cooperation that moved SHB 2346 out of the House late Tuesday night. The bill garnered broad bipartisan support, passing with a 77-20 vote. SHB 2346 is the result of three years of collaboration between installers, manufacturers, utilities, environmental groups, and legislators committed to the long-term, sustainable health of the solar industry in our state.
The goal of the bill as introduced is to promote a sustainable, local renewable energy industry by modifying the current tax incentive program. The current program has supported widespread adoption of solar, but has outlived its usefulness. E2SHB 2346, the amended substitute bill, is scheduled for a hearing in the Senate Energy, Environment & Telecommunications Committee on February 24 as of this writing. This substitute bill retains many of the elements of the original, but the proposed incentive rates have been significantly reduced in the amendment process. These lower rates could stall growth in the state’s solar industry.
SIW, manufacturers and other solar stakeholders are urging state legislators to restore the solar incentive rates proposed in the original version of HB 2346 in order to prevent a potential contraction of a healthy Washington-based solar industry.
According to a study prepared by the Center for Economic and Business Research for Western Washington University, Washington will continue to see a net economic benefit from a revised solar incentive program as prescribed in the original version of HB 2346. Every dollar the state invests in production incentive payments generates approximately $7 in payroll and $16 in local economic activity. The majority of the incentive is actually returned directly to the state in the form of taxes.
SHB 2346 will renew and reform the solar incentive program, providing the stability that consumers, installers and manufacturers need to continue the rapid adoption of solar and the growth of Washington’s solar industry.
The Washington State House of Representatives yesterday voted 77-20 in favor of the latest substitute version of HB 2346. The bill will head for a hearing likely in the Senate Committee on Energy, Environment and Telecommunications in the coming days. Click for an update on the bill's language, history and future actions.
Study released assessing the economic impact of the solar energy incentive program introduced in the original version of House Bill 2346
This study, prepared by the Center for Economic and Business Research for Western Washington University, assesses the economic impact for the State of Washington of the solar energy incentive program according to the rates introduced in the original House Bill 2346.
Click to view the study.
(January 12, 2016)--OLYMPIA, WA--SIW Vice President Dana Brandt (Ecotech Solar) and SIW Legislative & Public Policy Director Jeremy Smithson (Puget Sound Solar) testified today before the House Committee on Technology & Economic Development in support of HB 2346 which reforms the current production incentive program. Representatives from various sectors including manufacturing, utilities, nonprofits and others also testified most of whom offered their support for the legislation. Brandt and Smithson appear beginning at the 40:30 mark. Click to watch a recording of today's hearing on TVW.
Solar Installers of Washington Champions Legislative Update HB 2346 to Support Consumer Renewable Energy Choices
(January 11, 2016)-SEATTLE, WA. Solar Installers of Washington announced today its support for House Bill 2346. The bill is designed to promote a sustainable, local renewable energy industry by modifying the current renewable energy system tax incentive program.
HB 2346, sponsored by Reps. Jeff Morris and Norma Smith, is the result of more than two years of discussions between legislative leaders, installers, manufacturers and utilities. It has been introduced in the House Committee on Technology & Economic Development.
The existing incentive program has successfully supported choices for consumers’ energy needs as well as a burgeoning solar industry, and is nearing the end of its useful life. Without reasonable updates, however, its effectiveness will be significantly reduced beginning in 2016.
HB 2346 is designed to produce more jobs at lower cost, provide simplicity and certainty for new solar customers, expand utility participation in renewable energy options, offer protection for existing solar customers, and increase state revenues. Developed with bi-partisan support, HB 2346 will protect the positive benefits of the current program and continue the deployment of clean renewable energy systems while expanding energy choice for Washingtonians.
"Washington is the leading solar state in the Pacific Northwest because our legislators wisely chose to provide incentives when they were most needed. This bill will renew and reform that support at a lower cost, ensuring that we continue to lead the effort to increase renewable energy at a time when it is most needed," says Jeremy Smithson, SIW's Legislative & Public Policy Director.
The Renewable Energy Cost Recovery Incentive Payment Program went into effect in 2005 and was extended in 2009. The Washington State Legislature designed the program 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 in helping to deploy over 60 Megawatts in solar production, to assist approximately 10,000 homes and businesses to convert to solar, and to create and sustain thousands of family wage jobs in both the installation and manufacturing sectors.
A public hearing is scheduled for Tuesday, January 12 at 10am. Click to read HB 2346.