Previously in WA Community Solar
March 30th, 2022, saw House Bill 1814 pass, providing $100 million in new funding for Washington’s expired solar energy incentive program. The funds, managed by Washington State University Energy Extension, will be available in grants later this year.
Olympia Community Solar seeing results
HB 1814 was a culmination of three years of work by Olympia Community Solar. The non-profit prioritizes the need to provide equitable access to solar energy. President Mason Rolph states, “The benefits of solar energy should be accessible to everyone, regardless of where they live or their income. This legislation is a small step in Washington’s progress toward a clean, affordable, and just clean energy transition.”
Another year for Community Solar legislation
With HB 1814 passed and the first round of funding coming in late 2023, Olympia Solar and its partners are looking to improve the rules surrounding community solar projects.
In 2023’s legislative session introducing House Bill 1509 will provide several improvements and increase access to the benefits of more low-income customers and service providers.
An ACT relating to fair access to community solar
Making solar energy affordable
Community solar subscriptions are more affordable than installing a residential rooftop solar system, reducing the energy burden on low and middle-income utility customers.
Adoption of new rules by April 30th, 2024
Such required that 50% of all community solar subscriptions reduce the energy burdens of low-income customers and service providers.
Big local impact
Community solar projects utilize existing structures within their communities, which mitigates land use disputes while increasing energy security for the area. Projects under this bill are made in Washington for Washingtonians!
Achieving Washington's energy goals
Investments in local solar energy projects are essential to WA state’s strategy to increase energy independence from fossil fuels. More access to solar energy will reduce the energy burden on state residents, hedge against the effects of climate change and promote economic development.
Shining solar on all
According to Greentech Media, over 77% of utility customers do not have access to rooftop solar due to the following:
Low-to-moderate income customers
Homes with shaded or old roofs
Rent or live in multifamily housing
People who plan on moving homes
Improving community solar rules
With HB 1509, the way community solar works in Washington will be standardized. Such as the bill-credit-rate standard at the Utilities’ retail rate of electricity. Consolidating the process between community solar billing and utility billing allows community solar providers to recover their subscription fees through the utility billing system, known as “net crediting.” And finally, allowing customers to take their subscriptions with them when they move.
How to support HB 1509
In Washington, community solar offers a solution for families who rent or have low incomes – nearly half the state – to overcome barriers to affordable clean energy and lower their electricity bills. Call your Representatives and tell them you support passing HB 1509. You can also sign “Pro” and submit your comments here in the Committee Sign In – Written Testimony.
Check out Olympia Solar for more information on past bills and the new Net Metering bill here.