The net metering bill that fell short in the 2023 session of the Washington Legislature will be back in 2024, WASEIA leaders and the legislation’s prime sponsor have confirmed.
HB 1427, which won a strong bipartisan vote from the House Environment & Energy Committee in February, was pulled from the House floor on March 8 when it was clear there were not sufficient votes for passage. Investor-owned utilities scared away some members of the House Democratic Caucus with inaccurate claims of “cost shifting,” and unfriendly Republicans sealed 1427’s fate with a series of amendments designed to “run out the clock” at the house of origin deadline.
Community solar will be back on the legislative agenda in 2024 as well. HB 1509, the latest attempt to provide “fair access to solar for all” Washingtonians also fell to utility misinformation. HB 1509 will allow community solar providers to interconnect projects to the electric grid and have the utility assign the project’s bill credits to multiple, dispersed participants. The policy includes language determining the community solar credit rate, project size thresholds, and subscription rules.
“The resilience of the solar energy movement is unwavering, and we are committed to advocating for equitable access to clean energy for all Washingtonians. Despite the setbacks experienced with HB 1427, we appreciate Rep. Sharlett Mena’s dedication to continuing this important conversation. We recognize the importance of engaging in productive dialogue and are eager to engage with stakeholders to address concerns throughout the interim. We stand together with our allies in the pursuit of a just energy transition and look forward to the revival of both the net metering and community solar bills in 2024,” said Markus Virta, WASEIA President.
Rep. Sharlett Mena, the prime sponsor, has also indicated her willingness to “pick up this conversation during the interim and bring the bill forward again next session.”
As originally envisioned, HB 1427 provides a temporary expansion of the current net metering threshold, commissions a rate impact study, and forms a broad-based working group to recommend a successor net metering tariff. The bill also had robust consumer protection provisions designed to protect potential solar customers from predatory sales tactics.