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.