More in county getting power from solar panels

A small but growing number of homeowners are making their own power and even selling it to the PUD.

More people in Snohomish County and Camano Island are tapping into the power of the sun.

The number of people installing solar panels on their homes has tripled in the past three years, to more than 300 fromaround 100, according to the Snohomish County Public Utility District.

A good part of that growth came in the first half of this year, with 60 installations already, compared to 75 for all of last year.

Though the number is still very small, “it’s kind of looking like an exponential growth curve,” said Leslie Moynihan, manager of customer renewables for the PUD.

One reason is probably a reduction in price, PUD officials said. The cost of installing a solar power array has dropped 25 percent to 40 percent in the past three years, Moynihan said.

The average-size residential system of 5.5 kilowatts costs about $24,750 now compared to $33,000 three years ago, based on Moynihan’s figures. That doesn’t include a 30 percent federal tax credit and other incentives. Some customers can save more, depending on the system they buy.

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Appeared in HeraldNet on July 21, 2013.

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