Washington State Renewable Energy Program

NOTE: The Washington State Renewable Energy System Incentive Program (called the "New Program," below) has been curtailed effective June 14, 2019. WSU no longer is accepting applications for participation in the state incentive program. Details are on WSU's website.

In July 2017, Governor Jay Inslee signed legislation bringing significant changes to the state's renewable incentive program. Engrossed Substitute Senate Bill 5939 grandfathered in the incentive program for existing producers and created a new program for new renewable energy systems beginning in July 2017 and ending in June 2021.

Chelan County PUD will participate in this voluntary program effective July 1, 2017. The PUD is awaiting final rulemaking per Washington Administrative Code as well as direction on procedures and processes from the Washington State University (WSU) Energy Program.

Legacy Program
Chelan PUD has participated in the state Renewable Energy Cost Recovery Program since it began in 2005. Under the program, utilities like Chelan PUD use tax money that is normally paid to the state to instead pay small-scale solar and wind producers for the energy generated. Chelan PUD will continue to offer this legacy program to customers, incorporating changes per the new legislation.

Existing producers will continue to receive incentives based on the rate they received in June 2016, and will continue through June 2020.

Responsibility on the state level for overseeing the program transferred October 1, 2017 from the state Department of Revenue to the WSU Energy Program. In the past, Chelan PUD has had responsibility for tracking generation and calculating payments due to producers. For fiscal years 2017-18, 2018-19 and 2019-20, the PUD will provide generation totals to WSU, WSU will calculate amounts due, and Chelan PUD will make payments.

New Program
A new program, called the Washington State Renewable Energy System Incentive Program, began July 1, 2017. The new program establishes:

  • Residential renewable systems = 12 kW or less
  • Commercial-scale solar = >12 kW
  • Community solar = Up to 1,000 kW
  • Shared commercial solar owned by utility = 1 to 5 MW

Under the new legislation, any solar project installed by June 2021 can receive incentives. Systems that are installed in later years receive lower annual payments than the early adopters. These payments continue for up to eight years, or until 50 percent of the cost of the system is paid off, whichever comes first. 

Rates that customers receive depend on the size of the system installed, the year that it is installed, whether the solar modules are made in Washington, and whether it is a residential, commercial, community solar or shared commercial project.
Renewable energy incentive rates chart

The legislation extends the public utility tax credit incentive payments made under the new program until June 30, 2028.

WSU will accept new applicants/certifications through June 30, 2021. WSU will charge a fee of $125 per applicant. This is in addition to application and net-metering fees charged by Chelan PUD. State program participants with systems up to 25 KW are required to enroll in the PUD’s Sustainable Natural Alternative Power (SNAP) program, to sign an interconnection agreement with the utility, and to comply with the SNAP program’s policies and standards.

Visit the WSU Energy Program website for details. Interim rules for the program are here.

WSU is now accepting the following types of applications through its online portal:

  • New incentive application for residential-scale or commercial-scale renewable energy systems
  • New precertification application for shared commercial solar or community solar projects

Administrators of shared commercial or community solar projects must contact the WSU Energy Program for application forms. Contact WSU by email or phone (360) 956-2200 or (888) 363-7289 (toll-free).

School solar installation