Community Solar Expansion Program

To expand access to the benefits of renewable energy through community solar projects, in 2022 the Washington State Legislature passed 2SHB 1814 and Governor Jay Inslee signed the legislation into law. This successful legislation directs the Washington State University (WSU) Energy Program to implement and administer a community solar incentive program providing $100 million in payments – over 10 years – for the development of projects benefiting low-income individuals, low-income service providers, and qualifying tribal or public agencies. Beginning July 1, 2022, administrators of said projects – which must be larger than 12kW, but no greater than 199kW – may apply to the WSU Energy Program for pre-certification. Upon approval, they will have two years for completion.

Administrators must be a utility, nonprofit, tribal housing authority or other local housing authority, and may apply for certification by the WSU Energy Program at the completion of the project and receive a one-time incentive payment from their serving utility. Administrators participating in the Community Solar Expansion Program must demonstrate how they will pass benefits to subscribers at the time of application, and must continue to pass these benefits on for a minimum of 10 years.

In the first year of the Community Solar Expansion Program, the WSU Energy Program may authorize a maximum of $300,000 in incentive payments. Each biennium thereafter, an amount not to exceed $25 million may be paid out by utilities until the authorized funding is exhausted, or by June 30, 2036. Utilities are authorized to claim a credit against their public tax obligation equal to the incentives paid out.

The WSU Energy Program will track – and make available on its website – the total number of certifications for these qualifying projects, total allocated credit, as well as the available funding that remains.

Four Projects Under Way

OLYMPIA, Wash., June 26, 2023 – The Washington State University (WSU) Energy Program has approved four community solar projects thus far, under the direction of House Bill 1814. The Energy Team reviewed and pre-certified projects that meet the legislative goals of the Low-Income Community Solar Expansion Program. The incentive funds will be awarded upon the satisfactory completion of each project.

Community Roots (C-Roots)

The first project pre-certified by the Energy Team, Community Roots (C-Roots), is well underway and steady on their mission of transitioning community members from being unhoused to living in a home augmented by solar electricity.


Laurel & Forest a development project up in Bellingham, intends to house low-income senior citizens and will host a 31.4kW solar array. The reduction in energy costs by their solar array will allow for lower rents and resident programs for their Opportunity Council subscriber.

Laurel Manor

The 128.6kW Laurel Manor project will pass on the benefits of their solar system to residents of a soon-to-be-constructed multifamily building. Columbia Non-Profit Housing, a partner of the Vancouver Housing Authority,will be the subscriber of this project, housing individuals with special needs, families, and seniors.

Thurgood Marshall Community Solar

The Thurgood Marshall Community Solar project is partnering with a local school to host their 149kW solar array and has developed a plan to have the benefits flow to Homes First, an organization working to ease the housing crisis.

Since the Washington State Legislature passed HB 1814 to expand the benefits of solar to low-income communities, the WSU Energy Team has spread the word about this funding. Team members have been guest speakers at many events, speaking to interested parties about this opportunity. The WSU Energy Team looks forward to approving more projects that meet legislative goals and create innovative ways to share the benefits of solar energy to more Washingtonians.