This page is designed to give you information about Washington utilities, their solar programs, news and more. We will continue to update this page as information becomes available.
Recent Utility News & Releases
As part of the Arlington Microgrid Project, Snohomish PUD is planning a Community Solar program.
October 3, 2018; from SnoPUD release
As part of the Arlington Microgrid Project, the PUD is planning a Community Solar program. Community Solar programs make it easier for all customers to benefit from solar energy by purchasing shares at a community site without needing a sunny roof or funding for their own solar panels. Click for details.
Northwest Harvest receives new solar panels funded by PSE’s Green Power program.
June 4, 2018; from Puget Sound Energy release
As one of five recipients of Puget Sound Energy’s Green Power solar grant, Northwest Harvest’s warehouse in Kent is now operating with the help of solar panels. PSE tripled Northwest Harvest’s grant from $50,000 to $150,000 to ensure the system was large enough to offset over 10 percent of its annual electric use. To see how PSE teamed up with Northwest Harvest to reduce carbon emissions, check out the full story here.
Avista Introduces Solar Select TM Renewable Energy for Large Business Customers
April 3, 2018; from Avista release
Avista is pleased to announce it will be bringing a new renewable solar energy project to its large commercial and industrial electric customers in Washington. Avista is one of only 15 utilities in the country that offers a renewable energy green tariff designed to meet commercial and industrial customer’s sustainability and carbon reduction goals. The Solar Select program is powered by 28 Megawatts DC of renewable solar energy, making this array 25 times larger than the current largest array in WA. Located in Lind, WA, part of Avista’s electric service territory, the array will be comprised of more than 81,000 panels that span 170 acres and generate enough electricity to supply approximately 4,000 homes annually. Read more.
PSE Funds Five Solar Projects through Green Power Program Grants
Jan. 5, 2018; from PSE release
Puget Sound Energy is ringing in the new year by giving five organizations in its service area the gift of green energy. The recipients are organizations that are either food distribution centers or emergency warming shelters in their respective communities. Read more.
(Mason) PUD 3 opens up solar incentive program
Nov. 28, 2017; from the Kitsap Sun
Link to story
Your Utility is a Wealth of Information
- Energy efficiency rebates
- Ways to reduce energy consumption to save money
- Adding electric vehicle charging to your home or business
- Each utility reports its sources of electricity (ie fuel mix) to its consumers, usually through its website.
The map shows the regional jurisdictions of each electric utility in Washington and is color-coded by type of utility.
Solar Washington has provided this page listing all current incentives available. Click this link for a list of utilities participating in the Washington State Renewable Energy System Incentive Program.
What is the Source of Washington’s Electricity?
Sources of Washington’s electricity include hydro (dams), coal, natural gas, nuclear, wind, biomass (ag products, landfill gas, municipal solid waste and sludge waste), other gas (blast furnace gas, and other manufactured and waste gas from fossil fuel), petroleum, geothermal, solar and other (chemicals, sulfur, tire derived fuels and misc. (Technologies are listed in order of most to least produced.) Each utility reports its fuel mix to the public and/or their consumers, usually on their webpages. Search your utility’s webpage to learn more about where YOUR electric power comes from.
Utilities receive electricity via these public agencies: Energy Northwest, US Bureau of Reclamation, City of Seattle, PUD 1 and 2, TransAlta Centralia and US Army Corp of Engineers as operators.
Bonneville Power Administration is a nonprofit federal power marketing administration. Although BPA is part of the U.S. Department of Energy, it is self-funded. BPA markets wholesale electrical power from 31 federal hydroelectric projects in the Northwest, one nonfederal nuclear plant and several small nonfederal power plants. The dams are operated by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Bureau of Reclamation. The nonfederal nuclear plant, Columbia Generating Station, is owned and operated by Energy Northwest, a joint operating agency of the state of Washington. BPA provides about 28 percent of the electric power used in the Northwest. BPA also operates and maintains about three-fourths of the high-voltage transmission lines in its service territory of Idaho, Oregon, Washington, western Montana and small parts of eastern Montana, California, Nevada, Utah and Wyoming. BPA also funds regional efforts to protect and rebuild fish and wildlife populations affected by hydropower development in the Columbia River Basin.
Utility Scale Solar Installations in WA
- White Bluffs – 38.7 KW, jointly operated by Energy Northwest and Bonneville Power Association, built in 2002, 10 miles north of Richland
- Wild Horse – 50.2 KW, 2723 solar panels, in Kittitas County 16 miles east of Ellensburg, also operates 273 MW of wind turbines and features a visitor center.
- City of Ellensburg Community Renewable Park – 112 KW of wind + solar
Utility Oversight & Regulation
For-profit investor-owned utilities (IOUs) are regulated by the Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission which invites your public comment on any matter that comes before them. For more information, visit the Washington Utilities & Transportation Commission (UTC). Washington State has three IOUs. They are Puget Sound Energy, Avista and Pacific Power.
The remainder of Washington electric utilities are operated by:
- Municipalities (Seattle, Tacoma, Ellensburg and others)
- Public Utility Districts (PUDs)
- Rural Electric Cooperatives
- Federal Government (Hanford)
As public entities, PUDs, co-ops, municipal utilities are each governed by their own elected commissioners and/or city council. Their meetings are open to the public and public input is encouraged. You can find details about commissioner meetings on their respective websites (see list below). The governing body for each utility must approve rate increases (increases in the cost of electricity to consumers) as well as solar investment plans and policies related to residential and commercial solar installations.
Statewide Utility Associations
Washington PUD Association
The Washington Public Utility Districts Association (WPUDA) was formed in 1936. It represents 27 nonprofit, community-owned utilities that provide electricity, water and wastewater services, and wholesale telecommunications to more almost one-million residential, business, and industrial customers in communities across the State of Washington.
Washington Rural Electric Cooperative Association
The Washington Rural Electric Cooperative Association (WRECA) represents approximately 20 small mutual electric companies and rural electric cooperatives throughout Washington. WRECA's members use either the “cooperative” or “mutual” business model, which means that they serve their customers on a non-profit basis. The rural and small utilities we represent play a critical role in supporting the agriculture industry in Washington by providing electric service at cost to two-thirds of all farmland in Washington.
Reducing the costs of solar adoption
Northwest Solar Communities, a collection of organizations throughout the Pacific Northwest, put together a resource on interconnection and net metering with the intention of giving utilities and jurisdictions tools to assist in the streamlining of operations to help reduce the costs of solar adoption. Utility partners prepared a Best Practices Guide (PDF) to highlight efficient metering and interconnection processes.