Washington needs solar policies that serve
Despite the advantages of solar energy, a vast majority of Washingtonians lack access to it.
Community solar is a proven, cost- effective solution that broadens access to clean energy and utility bill savings for families, small businesses, farms, Tribes, and public service organizations.
Community Solar stimulates local investment in solar projects and increases energy independence while promoting local economic development, reducing energy burden, and increasing environmental benefits.
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What Are We Doing to Make a Change?
Washington’s 3.2 million renters, 700 thousand low-income residents, as well as those in multifamily, shaded or old homes are unable to access rooftop solar.
The Washington legislature has committed to a goal of 100% renewable energy by 2035 with the Clean Energy Transition Act. Only providing solar to homeowners with sunny, unobstructed, new roofs and the financial resources to purchase rooftop solar is inconsistent with this goal.
Approximately one out of five households in Washington spend over 10% of their income on energy-related expenses. Furthermore, data reveals that low-income households in the state spend, on average, three to four times more of their income on energy costs compared to higher- income households. This disparity places a significant strain on the financial stability and well-being of vulnerable populations.
Our Policy Proposal
To encourage low-income participation, a significant portion of the total program generating capacity must be subscribed by low- income customers and low-income service providers. This ensures that solar energy benefits are accessible to disadvantaged communities.
Electric utilities will be responsible for connecting community solar facilities to their distribution grids and publishing new tariffs for the community solar program. The commission will conduct reviews to evaluate the program’s effectiveness, and stakeholders will collaborate through a working group to assist in rule promulgation.
The policy amends RCW 82.16.182, the new WSU low-income community solar program. The amendment updates the program’s definitions to align with the new program, and expands the eligibility criteria for applicants to include public agencies.
The policy amends RCW 80.28.375, the existing registration system and regulations for community solar companies. The amendment updates definitions to align with the new program, and updates applicant’s filing requirements to simplify registration.
Policy Organized By
Olympia Community Solar is a non-profit organization with a mission to steward an equitable and accessible transition to clean energy.