New solar program did not pass in recent budget session, current program stands; we’ll try again in 2016

We thank all of our Artisan Electric community of solar enthusiasts and supporters who reached out to their representatives in support of SHB 1912 in the last few weeks. Because we kept you updated on the progress this bill was making through the legislative process throughout the special budget session, we wanted to keep you in the loop regarding the outcome.

Unfortunately, in spite of our efforts and yours, and the hard work of many stakeholders and groups, the bill ultimately did not pass out of the House Finance Committee.

This means that as of right now, the current incentive program that’s in place in Washington state will not change. The sales tax exemption and production incentives remain just as they are, on the same timelines.

We felt strongly that the replacement program would have created a tremendous win-win for new and existing customers as well as the industry. Benefits would have included extension of incentives and postponement of caps—ensuring solar’s health and viability for the long-term and supporting the growth that is benefitting Washington’s economy and the environment.

Along with key groups, we worked ceaselessly to educate and negotiate with legislators over the past weeks and months. But we represented only one of a diverse group of stakeholders, each with its own vested interests. Amid this melange of political styles and aims, we were simply unable to reach resolution on what amounts to a technically complex bill.

The good news, however, is that the process showed how legislators are looking to Washington stakeholders to craft Washington solar policy, rather than out-of-state influences and lobbies. Also, it was clear that many legislators do support solar, and remain committed to some form of continuing solar incentive.

We will continue to identify and collaborate with those legislators who are committed to sustaining solar’s long-term success in Washington state. We will also do what it takes to provide and promote the compelling evidence that solar benefits our state, making sure that everyone is educated.

So we’re not giving up—we’ll have another opportunity to re-introduce a form of this proposed program and seek its support in the next legislative session, beginning in January 2016. We’ll let you know how you can remain involved and support the process!

We’re confident that with continued hard work, we will pass legislation in 2016 that will ensure a healthy solar industry for years to come. Locally, nationally and worldwide, the demand for renewable energy (and solar in particular) is surging. This is projected to continue—and Washington is definitely helping to lead the way. We’re proud to be part of this movement, and are glad you are part of it too!

Thank you again for contacting your legislators and for using social media to get the word out about the importance of solar to our economy and environment.

If you can take a moment, it would be deeply appreciated if you could send an email or make a phone call to thank your legislators for listening, to remind them that as a constituent this issue matters to you. And let them know they’ll be hearing from you again!

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