Solar Growth Pushes New Limits in Washington

Since 2006, Washington State has offered electric customers an incentive for producing, clean, reliable renewable energy — such as solar. This program has encouraged over 7,000 residents and businesses to invest in and install solar in their communities. Utilities administer and pay this state incentive to customers. In exchange, the utilities receive a tax credit equal to the incentive payments made. This credit is capped at .5% or $100,000 of a utility’s taxable power sales and payments to customers are calculated on an annual basis. For more details on the program, go here.

Customers Are Choosing Solar

Solar has been very successful in Washington State, and 2015 has been a particularly good year for solar energy generation. As a result of this success, many utilities in our state, including Seattle City Light and Puget Sound Energy, are projected to reach their incentive payment/credit cap soon, impacting payments in 2016. Once the cap is reached utilities may proportionately reduce future annual payments to all solar customers (existing and new) to stay under the cap. Several utilities have published their response to the situation, which can be found here:

Prioritizing a Solar Future

With legislative leadership, there is still time to fix issues with the state incentive early in 2016, so that payments are not reduced. Stakeholders, including Northwest SEED, have worked collaboratively over several years to develop solutions, and resolving this issue is our top priority. Our efforts seek to protect current customer investments while creating a path for accelerated solar growth. We remain committed to working with legislators, utilities, advocates and industry to develop a solution that encourages customers to invest in solar with market certainty. It’s imperative that our elected officials hear from constituents and resolve this pressing issue in the upcoming legislative session.

  • To find and contact your state legislator, use this handy tool.
  • Please join us and our allies at Solar Installers of Washington in Standing Up for Solar.

There is still far greater potential for solar growth and Washington communities deserve a bright future. To stay in the loop on this issue, please sign up for our newsletter.

For media inquiries, contact Northwest SEED’s Policy Manager: Jaimes Valdez | jaimes at

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