Renewable Energy Technology Incentives in Washington
As one of the leading producers of hydroelectric power in the US, Washington is well placed as a state focused on renewable energy. The state has a fairly moderate Renewable Portfolio Standard that commits them to producing 15% of electricity from renewable sources by 2020 but has a number of incentives in place to make sure that residential and commercial properties are given every opportunity to engage.
Washington has 48 large scale hydroelectric plants currently in operation providing 30% of the electricity for the state. The biggest of these and by far the most famous is the Grand Coulee Dam which has a capacity of 6,809 MW. The state has also invested heavily in wind power with Wild Horse Wind Farm producing 273 MW and the Lower Snake River Wind Project with a capacity of 342.7 MW.
Compared to other renewable resources, solar is small in Washington although there are incentives in place to help promote it which could change things in the future. The state currently has 65 MW capacity installed and the biggest project is White Horse which produces just 1 MW. There are 136 solar companies operating in the state supplying jobs to over 2,000 workers. The remainder of Washington’s power production comes from natural gas and nuclear.
Solar PV Incentives in Washington
The return on investment on solar PV installation is smaller than in many other states but there are still incentives in place to encourage take up. There is the 30% Federal Tax Rebate to begin with and there are also performance payments through the Renewable Energy Cost Recovery Incentive Payment which pays between $0.12 and $1.08 per kWh produced, one of the highest Feed in Tariffs in the country. One reason for the low take up of solar PV may well be the low cost of electricity at the moment. There are also a number of low cost loans available for those who want to install panels on their home or business premises.
Solar PV Case Study in Washington
Washington is a purchase only state so there is no facility to lease panels at the moment. The average cost of a 5 kW installation will be around $18,750 and you benefit straight away from the 30% Federal Tax Rebate. With good returns from the performance incentive, you should expect to pay back any investment within 16 years, and have a profit of nearly $9,000 after 25 years, the average life time of a set of solar panels. You will also see the sale value of your home increase by nearly $10,000.
Solar Thermal Incentives in Washington
Solar thermal benefits from a good deal of the incentives that solar PV does and is a lower cost solution if you simply just want hot water. There are various tax rebates available and if you have solar thermal electric installed you can benefit from the performance incentive too for the energy you generate. For straight water heating, you can take advantage of options such as the Clark Public Utilities Solar Water Heater Rebate.
Small Hydro Incentives in Washington
There are opportunities for small hydro in the state particularly in remote areas that are off grid or agricultural land where the right water levels are available. This technology benefits from the Federal Tax Rebate as well as performance based incentives such as the Orcas Power & Light MORE Green Power Program.
Geothermal Incentives in Washington
Geothermal benefits from state incentives and is becoming more popular for homes that have the right infrastructure and enough garden space to install the network required for ground source heat pumps. Incentives include utility rebates such as the Inland Power & Light Company Residential Energy Efficiency Rebate Program up to $2,500.
Biomass Incentives in Washington
Biomass is small but developing in the state though the only notable facility is at Fork’s High School which provides heating and energy for the premises there. Incentives area available including the Federal Tax Rebate and local financing opportunities through the Pacific Power Blue Sky Community Project Fund.
Wind Power Incentives in Washington
The state has a strong wind power infrastructure with the potential to add more, both onshore and offshore. For remote communities that are off grid and agricultural land, wind offers a good return on investment despite the high start-up costs involved. Installations benefit from the Federal Tax Rebate and other property tax exemptions, as well as the Feed in Tariff incentive. There is also the availability of low cost loans such as the WSHFC Sustainable Energy Program which has an operating budget of $7 million.
Washington has more than its fair share of renewable incentives to help promote green energy in the state. The future should see more emphasis on solar projects, off shore wind and biomass, for which the state has abundant resources.
You can find out more about renewable energy technology incentives for Washington on the DSIRE web site.