The 2017 Washington State Legislature gave a new lease on life to the “renewable energy system incentive program.”
A new Washington State law extending renewable energy incentives gives local solar power boosters another reason to consider the installation of solar panels at their home or business.
In response, Mason PUD 3 Commissioners have lifted a moratorium they imposed last year on new solar incentive agreements.
Shelton residents Joe and Nancy Snyder told PUD 3 they were encouraged by the news, “thank you for your decision and for the continued support of solar. Alternate clean energy sources are important for the economy and future of our planet.” They wrote in a letter to the PUD. “We are planning a solar installation around the first of the year.”
With an expiring state incentive program running low on funds, PUD 3 commissioners last year placed a hold on new incentive agreements. By limiting future applications for the benefit, the PUD made a good faith effort to ensure early solar adopters got the full payments they expected when they signed up. Other utilities cut the benefit to program participants on a proportional basis when new solar sites came on line.
The 2017 Washington State Legislature approved a law giving a new lease on life to the renewable energy system incentive program. That’s good news for new solar energy boosters. The new program will run through 2030. The incentives will decrease over time, as part of an effort to help wean the solar industry off state incentives.
Prices of new solar energy systems have been steadily decreasing. Better production methods, a drop in the price of raw materials, greater competition, and increasingly efficient solar panels have combined to make solar power more affordable.
The law increases the incentive cap to 1.5 percent of the PUD’s 2014 taxable power sales. The old limit was 0.5 percent.
Those who are now in the program will see their current incentives continue until 2020.
There are over 100 customers in PUD 3’s shared solar project, which was created under the old program and will remain the same. About 65 home-based solar energy systems are installed or will soon be connected. Under the state incentive program, those customers with new solar installations can get a per-kilowatt hour benefit for generating their own solar electricity, up to $5,000 per year, capped at 50% of the total system cost.
In addition to the incentives, solar installations are eligible for a billing credit for the energy they generate which exceeds how much electricity they use from the PUD (runs their meter backwards).
Mason PUD 3 has an extensive resource library for customers interested in learning more about using solar energy in Mason County.