Watt's on the horizon for 2024?

Another trip around the sun finds Washington facing an exciting solar landscape for 2024. We have updates for net metering legislation that may affect the future of solar power in Washington. There are products to get excited about that will help maximize solar production, storage, and usage. And ways for you to Stand Up for Solar through Washington’s Solar Energy Industry Association!

Net Metering in Washington

In 2019, Washington State passed Senate Bill 5223, requiring electric utilities to report progress on reaching the specified 4% generation capacity from distributed solar (i.e., residential solar, whether on roofs or ground mounts). When a utility meets the 4% generation capacity, it can choose a non-standard rate subject to review. PSE is nearly there, at 87%, since the latest report in June of this year, although we have confirmation that if PSE was to change from the current net metering rules, PSE customers would have 6 months to acquire a system with the old net meter rules.

Fortunately, WASEIA has made significant progress in talking with utilities, legislators, and other industry professionals in Oregon about contingency plans and how to best proceed with net meter deviations or improvements. ! More updates to come as the legislative session starts in March of 2024.

Stand Up For Solar

Local solar plays a vital role in enhancing the reliability and resilience of our energy grid, especially in the face of extreme weather events affecting traditional hydropower sources. With a commitment to vehicle and building electrification, our State stands at a crucial juncture, requiring a decision between doing business as usual with large utility-scale projects or embracing a comprehensive approach that leverages all available tools. Local solar emerges as a crucial element in maintaining grid functionality amid the challenges of transitioning to a new energy system, ensuring flexibility as our electricity demands increase.

Here are some points to think about regarding the energy future of Washington:

A People-Centric Electric Grid

  • Energy policies should prioritize a grid that works for people
  • Focus on affordability, reliability, and security.
  • Support for vulnerable populations, including low-wealth and underserved.

Droughts Worsening Hydropower Supply

  • Seattle City Light raising rates in January due to hydropower losses, read more (link to blog)
  • Over $70 million in emergency funds was depleted in less than a year.
  • Call for deploying distributed solar to offset future losses.
LCOE of Electricity

Future of Power Generation

  • Suleman Khan, CEO of Swell Energy, envisions a shift to localized power.
  • Batteries near consumption points are seen as essential; every home may have one.
  • Batteries should become a common household appliance comparable to a dishwasher or television.
Washington State Highways

Challenges in Renewable Energy Projects:

  • Massive land use for utility-scale wind and solar projects creates challenges.
  • Increasing difficulty in finding suitable locations.

Ensuring Solar Success for All Washingtonians

If Washington is going to meet its energy goals per the Clean Energy Transformation Act, we must use all tools, including locally distributed solar. Grid reliability needs to grow from the end-users, utilities must enable a streamlined permitting process for rooftop solar, and assess the real value of solar in our State, especially in the face of losing reliable energy sources like Hydropower. We can make this transition equitable, efficient, and fiscally responsible. Support Northwest Electric and Solar and WASEIA so we can bring the renewable energy future to our homes now! 

New Solar Panels Coming to Washington

The efficiency increases of solar have stalled in the last handful of years, so what’s left to improve? Well, it’s the rate that the modules degrade that solar panel manufacturers focus on to differentiate their products from the competition. In 2024, we’ll offer QCell’s Q.Tron solar panels at 425 watts! The Q.Tron solar panels exemplify this lasting quality, showing that they still produce 90.58% of their rated output at year 25.

Batteries in Washington State

The battery storage options from Northwest Electric and Solar remain the same heading into 2024, between Tesla Powerwall and FranklinWH aPower batteries. We should see more electric vehicles that enable vehicle-to-grid (V2G) capabilities, providing homeowners and businesses more options to back up their power, especially when EV batteries are at least six times larger than those installed solely for backup needs. Plus, the time-of-use (TOU) pilot for SCL will signal an opportunity to use battery storage to reduce your power bill. We’ll closely monitor this and notify our network when TOU rates come to Washington.

EV Charging in Washington

The Dept. of Commerce’s EV charging program will release its award recipients in January. This grant awards over $60 Million for EV charger installations for level 2 and DC fast charging. Expect more EV charging sites for you to fuel up your EVs across Washington State in 2024!

SPAN in Washington

With SPAN’s PowerUp update allowing homeowners to avoid costly service upgrades as they add energy upgrades like heat pumps and EV chargers, you can expect more over-the-air updates to improve and add functionality.

Protect Yourself from Solar Scams!

Beware of potential solar scams and misinformation circulating in the Washington market. A cautionary tale from an individual’s experience reveals a troubling trend of opportunistic salespeople using deceptive tactics to exploit the booming interest in solar energy. With no mandatory licensing or training for solar sales in Washington, these independent contractors, often part of “dealer networks,” operate on commission, incentivizing them to make exaggerated promises. The absence of industry regulations has led to a surge in fraudulent practices, with individuals targeting vulnerable populations and making substantial profits through misleading sales pitches. As increased complaints highlight, this alarming situation requires thorough research before engaging with solar sales agents who appear at your door. As the solar industry grows, Washington homeowners must verify information, seek reputable installers, and be wary of high-pressure sales tactics that could lead to costly and unsatisfactory outcomes.

A Washington Solar Company

Northwest Electric and Solar was founded in 2011 by Kirkland local Derek White. As a Master Electrician, Derek expanded his expertise as a full-service electrician into the renewable energy field, understanding that installing solar, battery, and EV charger systems properly requires a properly trained electrician. Over ten years later, we’re a leading solar and battery installer in the nation; we have dedicated teams behind each of our services so you and your home or business can feel safe in your investment. Together, we are working to Electrify Washington and set the example for how a sustainable and energy-independent State should operate through deep cooperation between residents, businesses, utilities, and governments. Feel free to get a free estimate from us so you can learn more about how to electrify your world!