Solar Installers of Washington appreciates the bipartisan cooperation that moved SHB 2346 out of the House late Tuesday night. The bill garnered broad bipartisan support, passing with a 77-20 vote. SHB 2346 is the result of three years of collaboration between installers, manufacturers, utilities, environmental groups, and legislators committed to the long-term, sustainable health of the solar industry in our state.

The goal of the bill as introduced is to promote a sustainable, local renewable energy industry by modifying the current tax incentive program. The current program has supported widespread adoption of solar, but has outlived its usefulness. E2SHB 2346, the amended substitute bill, is scheduled for a hearing in the Senate Energy, Environment & Telecommunications Committee on February 24 as of this writing. This substitute bill retains many of the elements of the original, but the proposed incentive rates have been significantly reduced in the amendment process. These lower rates could stall growth in the state’s solar industry.

SIW, manufacturers and other solar stakeholders are urging state legislators to restore the solar incentive rates proposed in the original version of HB 2346 in order to prevent a potential contraction of a healthy Washington-based solar industry.

According to a study prepared by the Center for Economic and Business Research for Western Washington University, Washington will continue to see a net economic benefit from a revised solar incentive program as prescribed in the original version of HB 2346. Every dollar the state invests in production incentive payments generates approximately $7 in payroll and $16 in local economic activity. The majority of the incentive is actually returned directly to the state in the form of taxes.

SHB 2346 will renew and reform the solar incentive program, providing the stability that consumers, installers and manufacturers need to continue the rapid adoption of solar and the growth of Washington’s solar industry.