The solar industry in Washington has grown tremendously over the past several years thanks, in part, to various incentives to go solar made possible by the federal government and the state of Washington. Increased competition at home, throughout North America and the world in manufacturing, distribution, installation and other products and services have lowered the costs of solar adoption as well. Finally, jurisdictions have made efforts to lower the barriers to adoption and utilities have implemented programs to make solar adoption much easier.
Manufacturing in Washington State has increased over the years. Click for a list of companies that provide solar-related products made (entire or partly) here in Washington State.
Solar Installers of Washington is a professional trade organization which was founded in 2013 to represent the interests of Washington-based solar installers. SIW commissioned a study that was released in 2016 illustrating the economic impact that solar brings to Washington State. The study entitled "An Assessment of Incentives for Solar Power in Washington State" was prepared by the Center for Economic and Business Research at Western Washington University. Download the full report (PDF)
Summary from the Study
"This study assesses the economic impact for the State of Washington of the solar energy incentive program introduced in House Bill 2346 in 2016. A survey was undertaken to define the relationship between each kilowatt of solar installed in the state over the past three years and labor and economic activity involved in manufacturing and installing it. These metrics were combined with the incentive rates and program details of the proposed incentive program to determine the economic impact of each incentive dollar spent. The study finds that each incentive dollar leads to $6.82 in payroll in the state and $15.84 in purchases from local installers, manufacturers and suppliers."
Employment Impacts, Excerpt from the Study
"The solar industry is growing rapidly in the state, with roughly 400 jobs in the installation category and more than 80 in-state panel manufacturing jobs in 2015, along with a number of related jobs in business that focus on inverters, racking materials, etc. For our calculations we assume 400 direct installation jobs and 125 jobs in manufacturing or manufacturing related jobs. Due to business-to-business activity and the spending of household income (as workers in the solar industry spend their income) – the solar industry also supports jobs in other industries. We estimate that the 400 installer jobs result in another 400 jobs throughout the state economy (at restaurants, credit unions, etc.) and the 125 production jobs result in an another 114 jobs. In total, the solar industry can be said to support nearly 1,100 jobs in the state."
The Solar Foundation-Annual Solar Jobs Census
The Solar Foundation’s annual National Solar Jobs Census is a comprehensive report on employment trends within the U.S. solar industry, nationwide and state by state. The latest Solar Jobs Census includes data for 2017. Click to read the full report.