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Washington

 

An arrow graphic shows that Washington’s renewable portfolio standard is set at 15% in 2020.

Carve-out: None (multiplier for distributed generation)
Tracking system: Western Renewable Energy Generation Information System (WREGIS)

Investor-owned utilities (IOUs), municipal utilities, and electric cooperatives serving more than 25,000 customers in Washington State (including the Bonneville Power Administration) are required to comply with the Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS).

A 2X multiplier is applied for distributed generation to meet compliance.

Washington allows net metering for systems up to 100 kW, and interconnection for systems up to 20 MW where the interconnection process is based on system capacity. Washington extends a renewable energy system cost recovery incentive to community solar projects. The state also has sales and use tax exemptions for renewable energy systems. Utilities offer varied loans and incentives to their renewable energy customers.

Net Metering

All customer classes are eligible for net metering. Net-metered systems with up to 100 kW in generation capacity can apply for net metering with their utility until the cumulative capacity reaches 0.5% of the utility’s 1996 peak demand.

System size limit: 100 kW

Aggregate cap: 0.5% of utility’s 1996 peak demand

Credit: Net access generation is credited at the retail rate

RECs: Customers retain ownership of renewable energy certificates (RECs) if receiving state production incentives

Meter aggregation: Meter aggregation is allowed for up to 100 kW per customer

Interconnection

Washington’s adopted standardized distributed generation interconnection procedures for the state's IOUs. The interconnection procedures are divided into three levels based on system capacity. All inverter-based systems must meet Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers 1547 and UL 1741 specifications.

Eligible Systems Type of Interconnection
Inverter-based system ≤25 kW Tier 1 (20 days to issue approval decision
System >25 kW and ≤500 kW Tier 2 (30 days to issue approval decision; $500 application fee)
All other systems Tier 3 (30 days or after all required studies are complete to issue Interconnection Agreement; $1000 application fee)

System size limit: 20 MW

Liability insurance: Not required for systems <100 kW; all other systems' requirements vary by application and size, per levels established by the Utilities and Transportation Commission

External disconnect switch: Not required for inverter-based systems ≤25 kW

Third Party Ownership

The status of third party power purchase agreements is unclear in Washington.

Community Solar

Washington’s renewable energy system cost recovery incentive extends to community solar projects ≤75 kW. For a system installed on the property of a local government facility (e.g. schools, government buildings, or parks), the state provides a direct incentive of at least $0.30/kWh. Systems using photovoltaic (PV) modules and inverters manufactured in Washington can receive up to $1.80/kWh. 
Individual utilities also offer community solar programs in Washington. Please check with local utility for participation.

State Incentive Programs

Program Administrator Incentive
Renewable Energy Sales and Use Tax Exemption Washington State Department of Revenue Solar PV systems ≤10 kW qualify for 100% exemption from state sales and use tax until 2018. PV systems >10 kW can receive a 75% refund in state sales and use tax until January 2020.
Renewable Energy Cost Recovery Incentive Payment Program Washington State Department of Revenue and local utilities Customer-owned renewable energy generation systems can receive incentive payments up to $5,000 per year. Incentive payment rates vary based on the technology, number of components that are made in Washington, and whether the project is community-owned.
System owners receiving the incentive must be an individual, business, local government entity, or community solar owner or member and a customer of the local utility. Third-party owned systems cannot qualify for the incentive.

Utility Incentive Programs

The state of Connecticut requires the IOUs, Eversource (previously called Connecticut Light and Power) and United Illuminating Company, to offer 15-year standard contracts to buy ZRECs from solar projects. Both utilities offer to buy ZRECs from small solar projects (<100 kW) through a small ZREC tariff.

Utility Incentive Limitations
Pacific Power Up to 100% of capital cost of community-based renewable energy projects <10 MW, locally owned, nonresidential
Clark Public Utilities Loans for solar PV systems at 3.5% interest rate

Capped at $10,000 for up to five years and $30,000 for up to seven years

No system cap; residential customers

Okanogan Public Utilities Loans for solar PV systems with a service fee of 0.2% per month Capped at $10,000 for up to 60 months; residential and business customers
Orcas Power and Light Performance-based incentive for PV electricity generation (temporary moratorium) 10 MWh per year for commercial customers and 4 MWh per year for other customers

Resources

The list below provides some resources for each type of policy or program. Please reference and contact relevant authorities and local utilities for the most up-to-date and accurate information on state and utility policies and incentive programs.

Renewable Portfolio Standard

Net metering and interconnection

Community solar

Programs and incentives