Washington State Enacts Solar PV Feed Law

By Paul Gipe


The Washington State Assembly passed a bill that had previously passed the Senate that institutes a feed law for solar photovoltaics. The governor has signed the bill into law. The feed law will pay US$0.15/kWh for electricity generated by solar panels. If the panels are manufacturered in Washington State the payment increases to US$0.54/kWh according to proponents. Make no mistake this is a signifcant development in the United States. Though the measure falls far short of the Advanced Renewable Tariffs used in Germany, France, or Spain it is a first in North America since 1984 when California’s Interim Standard Offer #4 was suspended. Follow the link below to an article announcing the bill’s signing.

What are the weaknesses of the Washington state’s action? Principally, the price is too low and the contract term (10 years) is too short to make a viable business case for a 3.5 kW-size system. Further, money for the tariff is not collected directly from ratepayers. In this regard it’s more akin to the policy in the Netherlands than Germany.

Still the action by the state of Washington signals that renewable tariffs or feed laws are politically palatable in North America. The message is that it can be done here contrary to naysayers.