Last week saw the introduction of two key pieces of legislation that WASEIA and its allies have been working on for the past eight months: HB 1427 to extend the existing net metering threshold; and HB 1509 to expand usage of billing credits so more low-income utility customers can take advantage of community solar projects.

 

HB 1427 has already been scheduled for a legislative hearing this coming Tuesday, Jan. 24 at 4 p.m. before the House Environment & Energy Committee; HB 1509 will be heard before the same committee at 8 a.m. on Thursday, Jan. 26. We’ll be on hand to testify, but we’re also asking you to reach out to the committee website and sign in “pro” before Tuesday’s hearing. Instructions are provided below.

 

Here are the key provisions of HB 1427:

 

  • Extend the availability of net metering to ensure fair access to solar and maximize potential to leverage new federal dollars. It would raise the existing threshold of 4 percent of 1996 peak power to 12 percent or until 2035.

 

  • Direct the Washington State University Energy Program to convene a diverse and representative stakeholder workgroup to determine the long-term future of net metering.

 

  • Increase the size of eligible solar projects so that communities and households of all sizes can benefit from net metering.  The size of projects eligible for net metering would rise to a maximum of 2 mW in the service territories of investor-owned utilities and 200 kW in consumer-owned (PUD and co-op) service territories

 

  • Expand low-income energy assistance programs using surplus net metering credits

 

  • Provide for robust consumer protections for solar customers

 

Here’s how to support HB 1427 in the Legislature:

 

Submit written comments: 

CSI (wa.gov)

 

Sign in as PRO on HB 1427:

CSI (wa.gov)

 

WASEIA will notify you when a hearing date for the community solar bill, HB 1509 is scheduled. Stay tuned.

Here are the key provisions of HB 1509:

 

  • Allows customers to receive financial benefits from a community solar subscription on their electric bill

  • Provides utilities a mechanism to pay for billing system upgrades and recover the costs of bill crediting services.

  • Requires that 50% of all community solar subscriptions reduce the energy burdens of low-income customers and low-income service providers.

  • Removes limitations on tribal owned community solar projects.

Here’s how to support HB 1509:

Submit written comments at this link.

Sign in as “PRO” on HB 1509 at this link.