Worth it for WA: Solar Jobs Bill’s legislative progress

Worth it for WA: Solar Jobs Bill’s legislative progress

Right now, the Legislature has the opportunity to update Washington’s solar program with a more effective, efficient program.

In 2006, Washington State created the Renewable Energy Cost Recovery Incentive Payment Program to help build a local solar manufacturing sector and to enable residents to put solar power to work on homes, commercial buildings, and community facilities.

This program has been enormously successful:

  • Solar panel prices are dropping
  • 84 megawatts of solar installed since 2006
  • 13,000 homes and businesses have added solar power
  • 3,700 family-wage jobs created and sustained by the solar industry, ranging from local solar manufacturers to solar installers across the state

(Details here)

But now, our legacy solar program is both inefficient and at capacity:

  • Inefficient: With solar panels’ prices dropping, the legacy program we’re locked into does not use state dollars efficiently for deploying more solar power.
  • At capacity: Many of Washington’s 63 utility districts have reached their limits for solar under the legacy program, locking out many people. That means home- and business-owners across our state don’t have equal access to solar.

Right now, Legislators have the opportunity to update Washington’s solar program.

Ensures certainty for new solar owners, and protects existing solar owners.

Is more efficient than the old program the state is currently locked into. Without an update, the legacy program will add very few solar panels (or jobs) from now on.

Serious solar bang for our buck: The 2017 Solar Jobs Bill, HB 1048, uses state dollars much more effectively, deploying 5x more solar per dollar than the old program. If passed, the new program is expected to:

  • Deploy 115 megawatts of new solar in three years (it’s taken WA over ten years to install 85MW)
  • Create 2,875 new jobs, or 25 jobs per megawatt of solar
  • Generate nearly $150 Million in payroll across WA, with the average solar job paying more than $50,000 / year
  • Keep over $630 Million of our energy dollars in WA, as utility rates escalate over the 30-year lifetime of a solar system
  • Bring home nearly $10 Million of federal tax credits through the federal solar investment tax credit
  • Deploy approximately $630,000 of new revenue into local towns through sales tax on solar energy system purchases
  • Curbs climate pollution, keeps our air clean, and eases the burden on the ever-declining supply of freshwater to Washington’s dams: priceless. (But we have real data here.)

Assures our home-grown solar industry can continue to grow and hire just like the rest of the US. Nationally, the solar industry is adding jobs 12x faster than the rest of the economy. We could have that growth here in WA, but instability is causing us to miss out.

Legislative Progress

Last Friday, the Solar Jobs Bill had a successful hearing in the House Finance Committee. We hope they will vote it out of that Committee ASAP, so the Solar Jobs Bill can eventually pass the House and make its way to the Senate.

What You Can Do

Tell the House Finance Committee to vote the Solar Jobs Bill (HB 1048) out of committee.

Please share this information on the Solar Jobs Bill with the House Finance Committee and your own local legislators:

Member Name







Cary Condotta


(360) 786-7954


Laurie Dolan


(360) 786-7940


Noel Frame


(360) 786-7814


Kristine Lytton


(360) 786-7800


Terry Nealey


(360) 786-7828


Ed Orcutt


(360) 786-7990


Gerry Pollet


(360) 786-7886


Larry Springer


(360) 786-7822


Drew Stokesbary


(360) 786-7846


J.T. Wilcox


(360) 786-7912


Sharon Wylie


(360) 786-7924



Thanks for all you’re doing to Keep WA Solar Strong. It’s working!

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