The new program proposed in the 2017 Solar Jobs Bill is a much more cost-effective way for Washington to get as much solar power as possible. The 2017 Solar Jobs Bill will give Washington ~5x more solar power per dollar than our budget is currently paying under the old 2006 law. If the 2017 Solar Jobs Bill doesn’t pass, the 2006 system will stand, and Washington will continue under the old, inefficient system.
In the 2017 Solar Jobs Bill, every dollar that Washington spends on solar incentives will generate $16-20 of local economic activity in our communities, according to research by Western Washington University’s Center for Economic and Business Research. This includes solar manufacturing, installing, tax dollars saved through the federal solar tax credit, and more.
Solar can help power our growing fleet of electric vehicles, keeping carbon in the ground and our fuel dollars at home. The Northwest Power and Conservation Council, a utility industry group, finds that “according to the Council’s conservative estimate, by 2035 we could keep $2 billion dollars per year in the region, mainly by reducing the amount of gasoline purchased from producers outside the region. While the initial cost for an electric vehicle can be more expensive, the fuel savings more than make up for the extra expense and their maintenance costs are usually lower, too.” Driving on solar power not only cuts pollution, it also keeps our dollars local.
The 2017 Solar Jobs Bill repeals the sales tax exemption for solar systems under 10kW one year ahead of schedule. Re-activating sales tax in the 2017 Solar Bill will pay for most of the solar program costs in the first biennium, and will help to further offset costs in the years beyond. Overall, the cost of the new solar program would cost each household less than $10 per year, and represent only one-twentieth of a percent (0.053%) of the state budget.
Solar offsets climate-polluting fuels in powering our buildings and cars, avoiding the cost and pollution of further coal, natural gas, and nuclear power plants. And unlike those fuel sources, solar power requires no fuels costs or expensive insurance against price swings – sunshine is free, and always will be. Switching from fossil fuels to clean energy is also better for our health, reducing lost workdays and even early deaths. Studies show that fossil fuels are costing our economy between $361.7 billion and $886.5 billion each year in healthcare bills, up to 6% of our country’s GDP. Cutting climate pollution means lowering the costs of adapting to climate change, like building seawalls and fighting wilder wildfires. An average-sized residential solar system in Washington (7.5kW) prevents 2,000 trees’ worth of carbon pollution each year. That means that thanks to the more than 60 MW of solar already installed across Washington, our state has already saved over 16 million trees’ worth of carbon. More specifically, a Western Washington University study calculates the environmental benefits of solar are worth $9 per kilowatt to the state, or approximately $5.4 million so far.
Solar makes Washington more energy independent. With more homes and businesses going solar, Washington’s utility ratepayers avoid the costs of finding other ways to power our growing neighborhoods, energy-intensive growth industries, and increasingly electrified transportation. Paired with efficiency measures, solar means we don’t have to ask more from our aging dams to building expensive new transmission lines across our backyards.
Finally, solar in Washington means thousands of skilled, well paying jobs that can’t be outsourced.
Help keep Washington #SolarStrong by signing this petition by the Solar Installers of Washington!