(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the charge to ensure a new bill is passed during the 2017 legislative session to breathe new life into the currently outdated program.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.