By Roy L Hales
Solar Incentives are very important in Washington (state). With power less than $0.10/kWh throughout the state, some customers wouldn’t put solar panels on their roofs if it weren’t for the incentive. The state paid out approximately $19.6 million for incentives in 2013. A Solar Washington study found that for every $1 Washington paid out in solar incentives, $2.46 was injected back into the economy.
More Than Pays For Itself
The exact breakdown for that dollar was:
- $1.30 is paid out as payroll
- $1.10 in local business purchases
- Solar companies pay 6 cents back to the state in taxes
“The incentive money the Department of Revenue (DOR) puts into the incentive program more than pays for itself,” said David Nicol, Board President of Solar Washington.
55 Of The State’s 102 Companies
Solar Washington’s survey contains data from 55 of the state’s 102 companies, who completed 786 jobs during the year. That is about 14.3 installations each, which is about 2/3 of the average for solar companies in Washington (19.6 each).
“There aren’t many requirements for being a solar installer, beyond being an electrical contractor. Many electrical contractors have added it to their product offering,” said David Nicol, Board President of Solar Washington.
He added, “That said, there are a number of dedicated solar electrical contractors in the state; the dedicated companies are typically very fast growing, fast moving places. Management has to be flexible, employees have to be dedicated, and both are in solar because they love it. All of the dedicated installers that I’m aware of treat their employees very well, offering a good living wage and benefits. They all compete with each other but the competition tends to be amiable if not friendly.”
They may also be more “user friendly” than in states where there is a higher volume of sales. For example, Nicol said installers from California have told him they never put panels on a house if the south roof faces the road. At the customer’s request, some Washington installations have the inverters on the street side of the house even though the shape of the roof hid the solar from the street.
Survey Every Year
“We intend to conduct this survey every year from now on,” said Nicol “We’re also considering asking companies to give us data on prior years so we can display a trend. The simple fact is that the incentive money the DOR puts into the incentive program more than pays for itself.
To learn more about the survey, or solar in Washington state, go to Solar Washington’s website solarwa.org