As the end of the year approaches and we look back at 2016, we are so appreciative of our employees and all the people who hired and supported Artisan Electric throughout the year. It’s been a wild ride on the “solar coaster” here in Washington State, but having so many customers support clean renewable energy and a company trying to make positive change has been extremely humbling and empowering. Thank you.
Without a doubt, 2016 was a banner year for solar. Nationally, the industry doubled in size over the previous year. For the first time, solar represented the largest new source of power in the U.S. By comparison, zero new coal plants were constructed in 2016. Solar is booming due to lower equipment costs, the extension of the 30% Federal Tax Credit, rising Utility costs and local incentives. Mainstream magazines such as Consumer Reportspublished articles promoting solar photovoltaics and general awareness continued to build. Solar Impulse completed an around-the-world flight entirely powered by solar! Energy storage technology continues to advance.
Locally, Artisan Electric had a busy year installing 145 residential systems in 2016, and we built some of our largest commercial solar projects to date. We installed a 167kW PV system on top of Seattle’s new North Transfer Station, and we’re wrapping up a 110kW installation on three University of Washington-Seattle dormitories. The UW staff and students will be able to monitor the solar production along with the buildings’ energy consumption and eventually tie battery backup systems to the installations. We’ll be breaking ground on even larger commercial installations in 2017, including a new building on the WA state capitol campus.
Artisan also expanded our offerings in 2016 with our residential electrical division, and we will continue building the non-solar portion of our business in 2017. We are installing a lot of EV charging stations and Artisan Electric recently became part of Tesla Motors Charging Installation Program. If you have an electrical project for us, whether it’s changing an outlet, rebuilding your electrical service or installing an electric vehicle charging station, give us a call!
We’ve experienced some major “dips” in the solar coaster this year as well. The beginning of 2016 showed a great deal of promise as a new solar bill HB2346 was introduced into the Washington State Legislature to stabilize and extend the popular solar production incentive program. The bill had strong bipartisan support as it flew through the lower house and gained steam going into the Senate. Unfortunately, Sen. Doug Ericksen, R-Ferndale inserted a “poison pill” targeting Governor Inslee’s Clean Air Act, so HB2346 was never allowed to have a final vote on the Senate floor. There is strong public interest in solar across Washington State, but growth has stagnated because our aging incentive program has not been updated.
In November, pro-solar Governor Inslee was re-elected, however the Senate held onto its Republican majority, meaning Sen. Doug Ericksen remains the Chairman of the Senate Energy, Environment and Telecommunications Committee. Artisan is working with the Solar Installers of Washington and Solar Washington to lobby for a new solar incentive bill next year, but we are heading into the same political climate in 2017. While solar is on the legislature’s radar, 2017 is a budget year in Olympia, and their top priority will be to finally figure out how to fund education by implementing the McLeary court decision. But we encourage all clean energy supporters to get a jump start on the 2017 legislative session by urging legislators to support the solar incentive bill. To take action, go to the Keep WA Solar Strong website.
As we move into the unknowns of 2017, Artisan will continue working hard to spread the word about solar through workshops in Tacoma, Vashon Island and in Georgetown. We’ll be at the Puyallup Home & Garden Show, the Seattle Home Show, the South Sound Sustainability Expoand the Tacoma Remodel Expo. If you’re coming to one of these shows, please stop by and say hi and catch-up. We love seeing our customers!
Referrals and Legislation
It’s becoming increasingly apparent that our best hope for slowing climate change in the United States over the next four years will be on a state-by-state level. To that end, Artisan needs your support in two ways. First, we need more referrals from our existing customers so that we can stay strong as a company. Second, we need everyone to push for new solar legislation in 2017.
Ever since the Presidential Election, we’ve seen a slowdown in customer leads and we need your help. As we head into 2017, it’s unclear what impact President-Elect Trump will have on renewable energy, but his Cabinet nominees thus far to the EPA, Dept. of Energy, Secretary of State, and Secretary of Interior are full of climate-change deniers and petroleum industry insiders. This does not bode well for renewable energy policies. This is precisely the time that we need to see action on a local level here in Washington State. Installing solar on your home or business lowers greenhouse gas emissions and makes a bold statement of hope to the community.
Artisan Electric is asking our customers to recommend our company to one of your friends or family members so that we can continue spreading hope and fostering resistance. Don’t forget that spreading the word is also “green” for your wallet. If you refer someone who goes solar with Artisan, we’ll pay both you and the new customer $0.05 per watt of whatever sized system they install, with no limits on size or number of referrals!
Another way to help out is by going onto Yelp, Facebook or SolarReviews to post a review about Artisan Electric. It doesn’t take much time to write a review that can help nudge the next person into going solar. With a simple action, you can positively influence the planet!