KONP Home Show in Port Angeles this weekend – March 9th and 10th

We hope to see you at the Port Angeles High School this weekend from 9-4 on Saturday and 9-3 on Sunday.  We will be offering Spin Your Meter backwards Presentations at 10 Am and 1 PM on both Saturday and Sunday.  Come find us in the Easy Gym to learn a little about the state of the solar industry, how it works on the Olympic Peninsula, and current financial incentives.

Details on the KONP home show are here https://www.myclallamcounty.com/advertising/2023-konp-home-show/

21 KW Sunpower Array, Port Angeles, October 2022

PSE Acts in Favor of Net Metering

Puget Sound Energy (PSE) has taken a stance at this moment to extend and stabilize their Net Metering policy, at least through December 31, 2025.  What will happen after that is in question at the moment, but we support this action by PSE.  If you are a customer living in PSE territory considering solar – this window of time is absolutely the moment for you to act for yourself.  No matter whether Net Metering changes after that, indications are that existing Net Metered customers will be grandfathered in with their existing agreement.

Washington’s Net Metering law has been progressive in some ways, but our solar protections have been handcuffed by low thresholds.  A part of this has been that we have always had a relatively small amount of solar installations per capita, or per utility.  As installers, sometimes over the years we have occasionally seen those low thresholds cause disruptions in the market and unpredictability for our clients and us.  Currently our state law requires utilities to offer Net Metering to grid-tied solar customers, up to a capacity of 4% of the 1996 peak loads, a number which is reported by each utility and published by the state for each utility territory.  Each different utility reaches whatever thresholds are in place at different times.  For PSE, they have reached it now, and rather than disrupting the market while the legislature decides what to do in terms of extending Net Metering, PSE has decided to maintain stability at the moment.

The Net Metering law in Washington requires the utility to accept your excess clean energy to be back fed into the grid, and also requires them to compensate you at the same retail price they charge you, up to 100% of the energy you use each year.  Many leading states have a much higher installed capacity of Net Metered solar compared to Washington at this point, and we have learned there is no economic or technical negative consequence to utilities in these situations.

Some utilities oppose net metering based on fear, ignorance and greed, but there is no impartial data to back up their opposition – only industry studies.  For this reason, the Washington state legislature currently has a “Value of Solar” study planned as a budget line item in the current budget proposal.  An unbiased study agreed to by a broad group of stakeholders including consumer protection advocates, will provide data to protect against unfounded claims of harm by the utility industry.  We look forward to seeing the results of the Value of Solar study, but be aware that the process may also be vulnerable to being manipulated.  There is no better time to install solar at your home than now while we are certain we have good rules in place to protect your right to install solar and use our grid to your best advantage.


19.6 KW Sunpower Array, Poulsbo Residence, PSE Grid

Net Metering is the Foundation of Reasonable Solar Valuation

When you are able to install solar on your home, you are not only creating clean local carbon-free energy, but you are also saving money on your bill, and helping the local utility to which you are interconnected.  While it is true that the utility loses the chance to sell you a kwh for each kwh you produce, they are able to sell the excess power that you may be producing to your neighbors.  The Net Metering law protects you as a homeowner and makes certain that you are compensated the full retail price of each kwh you produce, whether you use it yourself, or put it onto the grid.  In the absence of a Net Metering contract, the utilities may not give you the fair value for this clean electricity created at the retail location.  Not only does this fairly compensate those who install solar, it helps support our society’s goals in terms of reducing carbon-based energy dependence.

Washington has had a strong Net Metering law since 1998, and it has been appropriately updated a couple of times since then as we have learned more, and as solar has become more mainstream.  When the Net Metering law is updated, we have also seen that the thresholds for how many net metered systems the utilities have to accept need to be increased.  Our Net Metering law is now in dire need of an update again after languishing for the last several years while the legislature has been understandably busy.  It is crucial that we update it again this spring to stay in line with the new federal policies and incentives available.  Without an update, there will be some utilities, including PSE, which will exceed the required threshold for the amount of net metered systems and have signaled that they will dramatically reduce the compensation to the solar producers.

WASEIA (WA Solar Energy Industry Assoc) has been doing some heavy lifting in this regard for years, which mainly involves educating our legislators and more recently has required rebutting utility-oriented misinformation.

As an interested citizen, if you want to help out or gain better understanding of the issues, getting involved with WASEIA is one of the best ways you can do so.  This industry group has recently created an individual membership tier for people to participate and contribute.  We recommend you take a look and get engaged through this organization.


19.6 KW Sunpower Array (a portion, sub-array on other side of the east and west facing roof not shown), Poulsbo Residence, PSE Grid, February 2023



Nation-wide Solar Panel Shortage Gets Noticed by Wall Street Journal

This article from the Wall Street Journal details the import resrictions on the largest solar panel suppliers.  These restrictions, combined with tariffs dating back to the Trump administration, and the general difficulties with supplies, shipping, and labor have caused disruption in the construction pipeline for many of the largest projects in the US, and have caused headaches and layoffs among some installers.  This is typical of what we sometimes see of the US federal policy, with different parts of the government working against themselves.  In the recent IRA, new incentives and goals were put into place to accelerate the transition to clean energy, while these import restrictions are dampening the industry.  The manufacturers claim the accusations of labor abuses are unfounded, and for some reason, it is taking years before there is a determination by the US govt.


Here at Power Trip Energy, we have been blessed with good predictable supplies of modules from Sunpower.  We have been Sunpower dealers since 2010, and have been so happy with their quality and reliability.  These last couple of years, we have been subject to supply shortages with various electrical supplies at times, but we have maintained a good supply of Sunpower pv modules.  We have significantly increased our inventory of all parts on hand since early 2020 to avoid surprises.  Sunpower products are not subject to these import restrictions, and in the past, they have won accolades for labor policy and clean materials handling practices in their manufacturing process.

Sometimes the solar industry is a bumpy ride, and insiders sometimes call it the solar coaster.  If you work with us, we make it our goal that your only excitement will be from the production of reliable clean power.  Please call us today if you would like to lean more.


8.6 KW Phase II Sunpower Array in background, Sept 2022, with the 5.4 KW Phase I Sunpower Array in foreground, Oct 2014

Jefferson County Building Forum 2022

The Forum will be anchored by several panelists at an in-person event at the Cotton Building in Port Townsend on Saturday, October 15th from 10-4pm. Morning Speakers will cover the processes from Purchasing Land, though Feasibility & into Permitting. Afternoon Speakers will drill down on current Building Incentives, ending with a panel on Future Uses for your Home.

Power Trip Energy’s Andy Cochrane will be on hand ini the afternoon to help make clear the available incentives for grid-tied solar pv.

The Cotton Building is located at 607 Water Street in Port Townsend.

Each section will include a Q&A format.


5.25 KW Sunpower Array, Nordland, September 2021


100% Carbon Neutral by 2030 – Keeping Everone On Track here in WA

2030 Coming Up Quick – Let’s Goooo!


Here in WA, the UTC (Utilities and Transportation Commision) and Dept of Commerce are the main regulators helping our privately owned and public utilities stay on track to meet our stated goals of carbon neutral by 2030 and 100% renewable energy by 2045.  These rules and clarifications are important steps in meeting our goals.

We are helping our clients do their part.  Would you like to join us?

16.5 kw Sunpower on Clallam PUD grid in Sequim, June, 2022

Nation’s Largest Solar Installer Celebrates 15 Years

Sunrun announced they have been in business 15 years, becoming the nation’s largest solar installer with installations in 22 states.


Some of the other statistics Sunrun shared in their press release:
  • 11,000 employees
  • 700,000 customers served
  • 5000 MW installed
During the 20 years we have been installing solar here at Power Trip Energy, we have repeatedly made the decision not to grow beyond our small family business size.  The first couple of those 20 years were pretty lean,  as we invested our time in educating the market and laid the groundwork for companies that followed our lead, like Sunrun.
As I review these same statistics for our company, I am reassured that we have made the right choice in staying lean and mean, operating without the inevitable waste inherent to large corporations.  I think these statistics show that our company is significantly more efficient than Sunrun’s in terms of projects installed and MW of pv installed per employee.


  • 10 employees (1/1100 the employees as Sunrun)
  • 1000 customers served (1/700th the number of clients as Sunrun)
  • 6.5 MW solar installed (1/1000 the installed capacity as Sunrun)
Ludicrous comparisons and all kidding aside, congrats to Sunrun, a company that appears to be well-intentioned and effective.  We still prefer to do things our way, and hope you will join our little solar family.

10.5 KW Sunpower Array, Bainbridge Island, WA 2019

Do Your Solar Homework and Beware of Ethically Challenged Solar Opportunists

We have been installing roof-top solar PV for our friends and neighbors on the Olympic and Kitsap Peninsulas for over 20 years.  Our reputation is vital and taking care of our clients is a huge part of what makes our business fun.  Solar has (finally) become popular in the mainstream, and sadly our state has attracted some scam artists.  Please do you due diligence and work with someone that has your long term best interests at heart.  We are working hard to install clean energy and create the world we want to live in.  A recent KUOW news story exposed a few issues with some disreputable installers and is worth a 4 minute listen.




12 KW Sunpower array, Diamond Point, WA, May 2022

Why Are We Seeing So Many New Companies Promoting Solar with…”Interesting”…Claims?

Here at Power Trip Energy, we have been promoting and Installing roof-mounted solar PV arrays for 20 years.  It makes a lot of sense to us, it has only gotten more attractive over time, and we pride ourselves on helping our clients and making a positive contribution to our community.  Lately there have been a profusion of new companies entering the market, and their claims make us wonder if they have the same motivations we do.  Our friends at Western Solar in Bellingham have been in the business as long as we have and they have built a reputation of honesty, reliability, and competence.  They wrote a nice blog article and we are sharing.  It is a good summary of things to look out for, written in a clear way, less emotional and more level-headed than I could have written it.  “Protect yourself from Solar Scams and High Pressure Sales.”


If you are in Whatcom County, call Western Solar.  If you are in Jefferson, Clallam, or Kitsap Counties, that is what we consider home and we would love to give you straight truth, and a great solar project at a fair price.


15 KW Sunpower, Seabeck, PSE Grid, Feb 2022

LG – A Global Solar Manufacturer Exits the Business

LG has been a leading brand of solar modules in the US, and less so, world-wide for over a decade now.  I noticed them enter the market in 2010, along with so many new entrants that year at the Solar Power International in Los Angeles.  When I saw that LG, Samsung, and Hyundai among others were making a big splash at that trade show, it was a clue that the market would be dramatically changing and growing.  Through the first half of that decade we not only saw continued geometric growth of the industry, but jaw-dropping price decreases.  Those price decreases helped fuel industry growth, but also herlded the failure of many good American companies that could not cut costs and survive (RIP Evergreen, UniSolar, Stirling Energy, NanoSolar, Solyndra, Day4, SpectraWatt, etc.)  At that time, we had just begun our relationship with Sunpower, based in San Jose, CA, which had been in the solar industry since 1985, and has been consistently recognized as the highest efficiancy and quality.

I was surprised to see LG walk away from the solar sector since they have such a good reputation, a good product, significant market share, and some of the greatest electronics manufacturing expertise on the planet.  If they can’t make good profit with all those advantages going for them, what does that say about the industry as a whole?  The low cost of multiple giant Asian solar manufacturers, the difficulties produced by Chinese dumping (substantiated by the FTC, and a basis for tariffs), and the consumer expectation that solar will continue to decrease in price, have combined to create difficult market conditions for manufacturers.

The official announcement from LG cites supply chain issues, and increasing materials and logistics costs.  https://www.solarpowerworldonline.com/2022/03/lgs-advice-to-u-s-installers-as-it-exits-solar-panel-manufacturing/

As recently as last year, LG was forecasting growth and continuing to commit to the sector.   https://www.lg.com/global/business/solar-blog/solar-market-trend

Sunpower has been able to weather the difficulties present in this market through growth, cost-cutting, price decreases, outside investment, and various restructuring over the years.  Sunpower is not the least expensive product on the market, far from it.  We feel that going with the highest quality company, with a track record of reliability and consistency, is the best way to make this solar investment for your home.

10 KW Sunpower Array, Sequim, WA, October 2021


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