Installing Solar PV on the Olympic and Kitsap Peninsulas and Islands Since 2003
Power Trip Energy is dedicated to improving the future of our community and our state through the use of renewable energy technologies. We specialize in the design and installation of grid-tied PV systems on the Olympic and Kitsap Peninsulas, and have installed over 2 MW of grid-tied pv on over 400 homes and small businesses since 2003. Call us for the finest renewable energy technologies to help you reduce your energy usage by harvesting the free and abundant solar energy that surrounds us.
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“Net Metering” describes the relationship between a utility and its customer when the customer has rooftop solar that is sometimes feeding the grid in addition to supporting their own loads, and the customer is compensated at the same rate as they are charged per kwh consumed or provided. In Washington, we have a net metering law requiring utilities to accept net metering systems up to a total capacity of 0.5% of the 1996 peak load. For more info read here http://powertripenergy.com/solar-faq/
Many utilities are now reaching that level, and due to the PR efforts of national electric industry interests, some local utilities are using language they have heard which threatens solar here in Washington. Increasing the legislative caps on net metering is crucially important to allowing private individuals the freedom to invest their own funds in upgrading their house with solar, and being compensated at a fair rate for the clean electricity they provide to the utility. Unfortunately the legislature has had a difficult time addressing this issue, even though the present cap of 0.5% of a peak load from 20 years ago is miniscule.
Here is how three other states are faring, based on recent news:
Hawaii’s Utility commission has voted to end net metering after seeing solar on as many as 16% of the homes on Oahu. This is poor policy, and will probably lead to grid-defection among some people who can afford batteries and who have large parcels (Hawaii law requires utility electrical service on standard small residential lots.) http://www.greentechmedia.com/articles/read/hawaii-regulators-shutdown-hecos-net-metering-program
New York regulators have suspended the caps on net metering in an effort not to interrupt installations as reaching the current 6% of load cap is imminent. http://www.utilitydive.com/news/ny-regulators-lift-solar-net-metering-caps-until-rev-docket-sets-der-values/407667/
In Vermont, the net metering cap was raised from 4% to 15% two years ago, a cap that has now been reached. Regulators are considering removing the cap. http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2015/oct/24/vermont-reaching-net-metering-cap-with-solar-expan/
Based on the level of solar other states are working to achieve, if you hear anyone talking about solar causing problems in Washington at 0.5% capacity, your response should be skepticism.
Environment Washington has released a report calculating a 56% increase in solar pv installed in Washington State last year over the existing capacity. A 56% increase in capacity in one year is tremendous, and agrees with our experience and observations.
We are seeing a similar increase in 2015, and forecast that we will again see that increase over 2015 in 2016. A portion of this growth has been driven by the decrease in price of solar pv modules, and a portion of 2016’s growth will be due to the expiration of the Federal 30% tax credit.
To qualify for the 30% Federal Tax Credit on solar, a project must be complete by Dec 31, 2016. We are currently booking projects for Spring of 2016, and we forecast that our installation calendar for 2016 will be filled before the middle of next year. We are also still looking for another qualified licensed electrician to join our team and further increase our installation capacity.
For solar capacity to continue to grow at this rate in Washington after the conclusion of federal incentives, we need to increase our net metering capacity by updating our once progressive but now dated net metering law. Increasing our state’s required net metering capacity requires no expenditures on the part of the state or utilities, it merely enables individuals and business to invest their own money in upgrading their facilities with solar.
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“To all the employees of Power Trip Energy! Thanks for the awesome solar installation, you have motivated me to save more energy and promote solar power even more.”Kevin Koski - Bremerton, WA.
“By generating our own clean electricity, our family is reducing air pollution while being energy independent. And we’re doing it now so that our children can inherit a better world.”Stuart MacRobbie - Sequim, WA
“It’s been great to work with you all, from the office support to the sales staff, all the way through the electricians and the guys on the job. We couldn’t ask for more!”Susan and Ernie Kroll