There’s good reason to be excited if you’re a solar developer in the state of Washington. Last year Governor Jay Inslee signed into law the Clean Energy Transformation Act known as CETA, which commits the state to supply electricity free of greenhouse gas emissions by 2045. With rulemaking well underway, new opportunities for solar industry growth are on the horizon. 

CETA applies to all electric utilities serving retail customers and sets milestones along the path to 100% clean energy. Given the complexities of transitioning electrical services statewide to renewable sources, many state agencies and stakeholders have come together to advise and collaborate with the state Department of Commerce and Utilities and Transportation Commission (UTC), which regulates the rates and service of investor owned utilities. Interested stakeholders include over 60 state utilities, their customers — including low-income and vulnerable communities —, environmental advocates, and of course renewable energy developers. 

“Rulemaking” encompasses the process of developing the administrative rules needed to support and implement CETA. Divided into two phases, Phase I of rulemaking is planned to run between July 2019 to December 2020while Phase II will be executed between January 2021 and June 30, 2022. The first of several stakeholder workshops and working group meetings have already taken place in August of 2020, and more are scheduled for September and October of 2020. 

New Energy Equity is closely following the rulemaking process to see how things will play out, but the general expectation is that there will be a new market for Renewable Energy Credits (RECs) which will support significant enhancement to their commercial and utility divisions. These developers plan to serve a broader range of clients than ever before including utility, commercial, industrial, municipal, and non-profit clients alike. 

Given New Energy Equity’s track record as a developer and financier leading the way in several new or re-emerging solar markets including Minnesota and Illinois, we are also closely monitoring rulemaking progress in Washington and keeping in close contact with our network of local developers. As soon as there are clear signals coming out of the rulemaking process, the solar industry can expect an influx of opportunities to develop new projects and play an integral role in achieving CETA’s objectives.