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WA Consumer Protections for Solar: Understanding House Bill 2156

WA Consumer Protections for Solar: Understanding House Bill 2156

WA Consumer Protections for Solar: Understanding House Bill 2156

 

The passing of House Bill 2156 is an exciting and significant milestone for WA state’s solar industry. This landmark legislation introduces comprehensive consumer protections addressing long-standing concerns about misleading sales practices and faulty installations. The bill includes requirements for solar energy contractors to ensure that solar customers are provided with clear and accurate information before making a solar installation decision. The legislation includes licensing requirements, along with specific contract language requirements and energy savings estimates. House Bill 2156 currently awaits Governor Jay Inslee’s signature and is anticipated to go into effect June 2024.

Key Highlights of HB 2156

Licensing Requirements:
  • Solar contractors must be licensed as per RCW 19.28.041
  • Design professionals involved in solar system design must also hold the appropriate professional licenses.
Contract Transparency and Financial Disclosures:
  • Detailed, written contracts are mandatory, including specifics like work to be performed, system components, performance expectations, and financing terms.
  • Contracts must be presented in the language used during the sales presentation.
  • Customers have a three-day right to cancel the contract without penalties.
  • Financing details must be clearly outlined, adhering to state and federal consumer loan regulations.
  • Contracts must disclose any dealer fees paid to lenders.
  • Contractors must inform customers about the potential effects of solar systems on property taxes
System Specifications, Warranties and Maintenance:
  • Itemized list of major system components to be installed and any necessary upgrades.
  • First-year annual production projections based on site-specific considerations.
  • Provide a good faith estimate of the first year’s electricity bill savings
  • A cost per watt calculation.
  • Disclosure of manufacturer warranties for major components
  • Outline of any ongoing maintenance costs.
Utility Interconnection and Code Compliance:
  • An approved interconnection application from the utility is required before installation.
  • Contractors are responsible for notifying utilities about equipment or design changes.
  • Contractors must disclose the requirement for system disconnect during power outages unless backup solutions are included.
Legal Responsibilities:
  • Entities purchasing or assuming solar installation contracts are subject to all customer claims against the original contractor.
  • Non-compliance with the law’s provisions subjects contractors to liability for actual damages sustained by the customer.

Solterra Solar is excited about the planned passage of this bill. We believe it is a promising shift towards greater transparency and accountability in our industry. We are proud members of WA’s Solar Energy Industiess Association (WASEIA) and are grateful for all the hard work that went into getting this bill passed. The requirements within this bill have always been a part of what Solterra stands for. We are passionate about the adoption of solar and we know that solar is an exciting technology to implement; no fake news (ie misleading energy forecasts or savings) required!

Check out WASEIA’s take on the passing of this bill here.

If you’re considering making the switch to solar, don’t hesitate to reach out to us. Let’s work together to harness the power of the sun and make a positive impact on the world!

Get a free quote here, email us at [email protected], or call or text 206-462-1103. 

Author Bio:

 

 

Paige Farris Kantrowitz (she/her) is the Project Coordinator and Service Manager at Solterra Solar.  A Kentucky native, she’s fond of hiking, snowboarding, traveling, dinosaurs, and recently began learning to shuffle dance.  When she isn’t in the office working on a solar project, she enjoys being outside or doing something creative (or both!).

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