The Daily News and The Chronicle are both reporting a new bill has been introduced by Washington State Senator Jeff Wilson (R–Longview) that would see the return of a highly popular solar incentive program for homeowners looking to install rooftop solar arrays.
The prospective law is currently known as Senate Bill 5493, and its aim is to reinstate 2017’s clean energy incentive, providing $110 million to both commercial and residential solar panel installation projects.
For homeowners considering solar, this means one thing: 2022 may be the year of the biggest solar incentives and rebates yet. And, combined with the Fed’s ITC (Investment Tax Credit), which is set at 26% for solar projects, but set to drop down to 22% at the end of this year, the message is clear: to maximize your solar savings, and potentially install your panels for zero down, meaning no upfront, out of pocket cost at all, the time to go solar is right now.
Senator Wilson Wants Homeowners to Install Solar Nationwide
It’s all about energy independence and stability. In the wake of rising energy costs, and legacy, fossil fuel power companies continuing to increase their rates and fees, while attempting to monopolize the market, the answer for many couldn’t be clearer: go solar now.
It’s cleaner, greener, combating climate change to save the planet while also saving homeowners plenty in their wallets. The average lifespan of a rooftop solar array is 30 years, and with energy costs being cut in half, or even more, after going solar, many homeowners are saving hundreds if not thousands every year.
Over the 30 year lifespan of the solar array, this can scale out to tens of thousands in savings. The Biden Administration has made their goal of becoming carbon neutral nationwide very clear. For Senator Wilson, it’s a no-brainer: His Longview home utilizes solar energy, cutting his own electric bill dramatically while also helping him charge his electric vehicle. As he likes to say, he practices what he preaches.
Solar in the Senator’s Words
As Wilson put it recently, “If you’d like to have more control and partake in a program that benefits the climate, the environment and your own pocketbook, you should incentivize this.” The new bill is expansive, with a wide umbrella covering myriad renewable energy systems, but, as the Senator stresses, almost all of the currently approved energy projects were solar installations.
The initial solar incentive program this bill is based off of was spearheaded and overseen by Washington State University’s Energy Program. They would be at the helm once again in this new reboot of the program.
When pressed for details, Todd Currier, the Energy Program director at WSU (Washington State University), pointed out that this green energy incentive program differs from most others in that the payments are not provided upfront. Homeowners will need to purchase the solar panel systems, and then apply to the program for approval. Then, after the panels are installed, and operating, the incentive is paid each and every year based on the amount of solar power generated.
Solar Incentives Spell Major Savings for Homeowners
According to Currier, “We care a little about how much your system costs, but for the most part what we care about is how much your system produced. If you don’t take care of it, it won’t produce as much.” This means upkeep, which, when it comes to solar panels, is fortunately quite easy to inexpensive to accomplish.
By basing the solar incentives on the energy produced by the solar panel systems, the actual amount the incentive pays is going to vary depending on the state, along with the setup of the solar system itself.
For Southwest Washington, as one example, Currier estimates that a three-panel system could drop the home’s annual power bill by at least $70. The thing to keep in mind is this is just one incentive, on top of all the other incentives and rebates (and tax credits) available. As it stands, most homeowners will cut their power bills in half (or even more) by going solar. This additional savings would be on top of that.
For many solar experts, 2022 seems to be shaping up as a banner year for solar savings. Rebates, incentives, and tax credits are still at an all time high, meaning zero down installation is an option for many, all while cutting their energy bills down substantially each and every month, saving the average homeowner anywhere from hundreds to thousands of dollars per year in home energy costs.