Innovative Funding for Solar Power for Non-Profits

An innovative new method of funding for solar power for non-profits in some states, including Washington, is to partner with an organization that leverages funds invested by donor advised funds (DAFs) and impact investors as well as foundations to pay for the installation.  One example is RE-volv, which provides access to solar energy for nonprofits that serve disadvantaged communities and otherwise could not go solar. It enables the non-profits to go solar with no up-front payment and to save an estimated 15 percent on their electricity bills. The non-profit leases the solar installation for 20 years and makes lease payments to RE-volv, with the savings on electricity bills expected to cover the lease payments and still generate savings. The investor benefits through a financial return on their funds. Since its founding in 2011, RE-volv has funded 52 solar projects in 14 states that are contracted for 14 megawatts and that have avoided 95 tons of CO2 emissions.

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Investment Tax Credit under the IRA

On January 14, Chantal Stevens attended a briefing on the IRA by Lyle Rawlings, President and CEO of Advance Solar Products, MSSIA Founder.  Here are the highlights of this presentation.

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Training and Clean Energy Career Pathways for Workforce Development

The solar industry is one of the fastest-growing industries in the nation, and offers tremendous opportunities for workers from all backgrounds with plenty of job opportunities for individuals who want to join a rapidly growing sector with high demand and a positive environmental impact.

After a slow start at the beginning of 2022, the solar capacity is expected to grow at unprecedented rates, in part due to the benefits offered by the 2022 Inflation Reduction Act (IRA).   In fact, the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) and Wood Mackenzie are forecasting that installed and operational solar capacity may increase threefold in five short years, skyrocketing from 129 GW today to 335 GW by 2027. 

In addition, the IRA also offers a major incentive to consider employing apprentices as part of the workforce of large solar project constructions.  Projects over 1 megawatt are eligible to receive the same Investment Tax Credit (ITC) as smaller projects if they comply with apprenticeship requirements.  The IRA uses the term “qualified apprentices” refers to those participating in a “Registered Apprenticeship Program”.

At the Solar Washington’s 2022 Washington State Solar Summit in October, the panel on Workforce Development included Seattle Office of Sustainability and Environment Director Jessyn Farrell, Sphere Solar Energy CEO Edwin Wanji, Puget Sound Electrical JATC (Joint Apprenticeship and Training Committee) Training Director Ryan Bradt and NW LECET Renewable Energy Representative Aubrey Newton. They provided insights into how to get trained, how to join the industry, apprenticeships, and pathways for individuals to enter the solar industry, and how their programs work.

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2022 Solar Summit: Ways to Go Solar: Rooftop, Ground Mount and other Solutions

When considering solar power, most people think about solar panels on a roof. While those work well in most circumstances, there are other options.  At the 2022 Washington Solar Summit, Solar Washington Board Member Chris Muench invited Ian Robinson (Northwest Electric and Solar), George Thomas (ClearVue) and Ian Lucas (A&R Solar) to discuss those options and ideas.

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Consumers, Companies and Climate all Win with the Inflation Reduction Act

The Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), the strongest federal legislation on climate change ever passed by Congress, targets a 40 percent reduction in greenhouse gasses (GHG) below 2005 levels by 2030, far greater than previous measures that would have reduced GHGs by 25 percent. Along with the positive impact on climate change, the Act provides a multitude of benefits for consumers and for businesses.

The result could well be a huge increase in solar power. A new report from Princeton University and Dartmouth University forecasts that solar power generation nationally could increase fivefold by 2025-2026, compared to 2020 levels.  While it remains unclear how much money will reach Washington state and how the federal law will mesh with state programs, huge benefits are expected.

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How to Avoid Solar Power Scams

“Federal and Washington solar programs are making it possible to get solar installed on your home at no cost,” one ad proclaims to Washington residents, and “in an effort to reduce demand on the grid, your utility company will now pay you a credit for going solar.”

If you see a deal like this one, it could well be a scam. While solar power is a great investment that can pay for itself in the longer term and federal and state provide support for solar power for some consumers, solar panel installation is usually not free and utility companies are not providing free solar power.


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Washington State Solar Incentive Program

A proposal for a low-income solar energy program was passed by the Legislature and signed into law on March 30, 2022.  House Bill 1814 funds a revised version of Washington’s exhausted solar energy incentive program. In addition to solar for low-income households and service providers, the new program may also fund community solar subscriptions for low-income recipients. 

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Solar Sourcing and Staffing

With concerns over climate change front and center, and energy prices driving consumer and industry desires to shift to renewable energy, solar power is increasingly attractive. Despite concerns about sourcing and staffing, the prospects for increased solar power installation and usage in Washington is positive.

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