Saturday, November 8, 2014

Be part of the solar solution | Letter Washington State

Article Abstract:
Nov 07, 2014
Editor, The Beacon:
Regarding the letter to the editor in the Oct. 9 Edmonds Beacon [“Your solar system is paid for by taxpayers,” page 12]:
First off, Mr. Haug, you got a rather high bid for a 6.5 kW system. The typical price is more like $28,000, not $33,000.
Secondly, your simple payback calculation assumed that electric rates would not go up. Has that been your experience?
When we calculate ROI for our prospective customers, we use a 3 percent escalation per year, which is conservative.
And if the BPA gets privatized, which is a real possibility, our power rates will probably double, to something comparable to the national average of $.16/kWh.
The third and main fallacy of your assertion is that the taxpayers are giving money to solar purchasers, rather than to schools.
The solar installation industry has grown about 30 percent per year for the last few years.
These installation companies employ local people, buy local products and pay local taxes.
The money that the state gives out, through the utilities, is more than made up for by these other avenues of revenue, and the 30 percent federal tax credit is federal money coming into our local economy.
Isn't that a good thing, or would you, Mr. Haug, rather see that money go to Exxon, Haliburton or Goldman Sachs?
The war machine and corporate giveaways, by the fed., dwarf any subsidies to the renewable energy industries.
As for the PUD incentive, they are required to get 15 percent of their electricity from renewable energy sources, by 2020, or pay fines.
This was a citizens’ initiative that passed with 63 percent of the popular vote.
It was a mandate by the citizens of Washington state to our (mostly) publicly owned utilities, and they have been trying to circumvent it ever since.
Many people and entities make lots of money on the way things are now. They do not want real change and are very good at maintaining the status quo.
Most of us want more, clean, renewable, secure, reliable solar power and wind energy. And we are getting to a more sustainable culture, in many ways.
If you're not part of the solution, you're part of the problem.
If you want to criticize a subsidy, Mr. Haug, how about the $4M/year subsidy that TransAlta enjoys by not having to pay sales tax on the coal it burns in Centralia?
The sun has been supplying power, to us, for 4.5 billion years, without an outage or a rate increase. It is a shame that we need subsidies to use it.
If we, as a society, took into account all the true costs of conventional power production, solar is already a great deal.

Chris Herman,

Well said Mr. Herman I would like to add that the subsidy is actually not paid by the Tax payer but is a fund that is generated by the utilities through a tax incentive



Incentive Type:

Performance-Based Incentive

Eligible Renewable/Other Technologies:

Solar Thermal Electric, Photovoltaics, Wind, Anaerobic Digestion

Applicable Sectors:

Commercial, Residential, Nonprofit, Local Government, Utility


$0.12/kWh - $1.08/kWh through 6/30/2020, depending on project type, technology type and where equipment was manufactured

Maximum Incentive:



Off-grid properties are not eligible

Eligible System Size:

Community solar projects: up to 75 kW

Ownership of Renewable Energy Credits:


Funding Source:

Utilities pay incentives and earn a tax credit equal to the cost of those payments

Start Date:


Expiration Date:


Web Site:

Authority 1:

Date Enacted:

Date Effective:

Expiration Date:

RCW 82.16.110 et seq.

5/6/2005 (subsequently amended)



Authority 2:

Date Effective:

WAC 458-20-273


Authority 3:

Date Enacted:

WAC 458-20-273 Emergency Rules


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