First Solarize Queen Anne home powers up

By Michael Harthorne

Matt Hosek converted his Queen Anne home to solar power, and all he got was a T-shirt. Actually, that’s not all Hosek got for being the first homeowner to make use of the Solarize Queen Anne campaign, which hopes to install more than 200 kilowatts of solar energy in the neighborhood by this summer.

With his new solar power system, installed April 20, Hosek is offsetting 52 percent of his electricity bill, said Howard Lamb, founder of Sunergy Systems. What’s more, that amount rises to 150 percent when factoring in the state incentives Hosek will receive for his new electricity source, Lamb said.

Hosek said his family is into saving energy, but their previous efforts to convert their home near the corner of Second Avenue North and Crockett Street to solar power were thwarted by the bad economy. But, when Solarize Queen Anne kicked off this year, Hosek decided to go for it.

Solarize Queen Anne, a joint effort by Sustainable Queen Anne, Northwest SEED and Sunergy Systems, wants to remove the barriers to solar power by buying equipment cheaply in bulk and offering free seminars to teach residents what they need to know.

“Once you learn about this, it’s really simple,” Hosek said. “But before you know about it, it seems really complicated.”

Hosek may have been the first to get his solar power system installed, but he won’t be alone for long. According to Solarize Queen Anne, more than 115 Queen Anne residents have registered to participate in the campaign. And, the project will be expanding to other neighborhoods in the coming years.

Lamb said people will be driving around and seeing solar power everywhere. The phones for solar energy installers will be ringing off the hook, he said.

Hosek said Seattle is a perfect place for a campaign like Solarize Queen Anne because of what he calls “the Northwest ideal.”

“It’s beautiful around here,” he said. “We’re really in touch with the earth, and it’s hard to get away from that.”

Queen Anne residents can register for the program through April 30. The final public workshop takes place from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. April 26 at the Queen Anne Library.

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Appeared in Queen Anne KOMO Communities on April 20, 2011.

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