by EVAN PAPPAS, Snoqualmie Valley Record Reporter
Now, more than any other time, might be the best opportunity for Snoqualmie residents to install solar panels on their homes. The city of Snoqualmie is partnering with Northwest Wind and Solar and Northwest SEED (Sustainable Energy for Economic Development) to bring affordable installations of solar energy systems to the community.
Multiple incentive programs are currently running, which add up to approximately a 50-percent discount after the first year.
Nicole Sanders, Associate Planner for the city of Snoqualmie, said that the limited availability of these incentives are getting people to look into solar more actively than ever before.
“I think what’s really bubbling up right now is a sense of urgency because the federal tax credit expires next year, in December of 2016, and so it’s really your last, best chance to get a huge discount on solar,” Sanders said. “So there’s that and the state production incentive, plus no sales tax, plus net metering and the (Solarize WA) discount which is embedded in the pricing.”
The way each incentive has stacked on the other has made this an enticing opportunity for many community members.
“Fifty percent at once is a huge deal and it’s an estimated four-and-a-half to five-year payback if you use Washington-made components,” Sanders said. “There’s almost no investment that I know of that has that quick of a payoff.”
After receiving a grant for this project from the Washington State Department of Commerce, the city
began organizing and spreading the word about the program. Snoqualmie contracted the non-profit organization Northwest SEED to help lead the campaign. Jill Eikenhorst, Project Coordinator at the nonprofit, said they have helped other communities with solar projects and their experience has helped them work with Snoqualmie.
Edmonds, WA – Edmonds Lutheran Church (ELC) will receive a free solar photovoltaic system to generate renewable energy for their facility if 50 homes in Edmonds, Lynnwood, and Mountlake Terrace purchase a solar energy system through the Solarize South County campaign.
Seattle, WA – The Highland Park Improvement Club (HPIC) will receive a donated solar photovoltaic system to generate renewable energy for their facility if enough homes in southwest Seattle neighborhoods choose to install solar electric systems in the coming months.
(Mercer Island, WA)— On Friday, August 8, the first commercial installation at an Island business under the City’s Solarize campaign will be activated at the Mercer Island Auto Spa (2730 80th Avenue SE). More than a dozen residential installations are also under contract or already installed, and dozens more are expected by year’s end.
A public ribbon-cutting event for the 24-panel rooftop array is scheduled for 1:00-2:00pm, with Solarize program and City staff, solar installers, Puget Sound Energy representatives, elected officials, and business owner Suzanne Skone in attendance.
Seattle, WA – The Solarize Southwest Community Coalition is seeking applications from qualified community organizations who would like to have a donated solar photovoltaic system installed at their facility to generate renewable energy for the facility and to use as an educational tool. The Coalition is also seeking applications from qualified businesses who would like an electric vehicle (EV) charging station installed free of charge in order to provide vehicle charging services to their customers.
Solarize South County is a citizen-led initiative to bring solar energy to homes and small businesses in several communities. A collaborative effort of Northwest Sustainable Energy for Economic Development (Northwest SEED), Snohomish County PUD, the City of Edmonds and a team of volunteers from Lynnwood, Edmonds and Woodway, Solarize South County is a time-limited initiative designed to help single family homeowners and small businesses purchase solar panels via a streamlined process and group discount. Registration is now open. The first workshop will be held July 16.
Seattle, WA – Solar energy is currently powering hundreds of Seattle homes, and residents of West Seattle, White Center, Georgetown, Burien and other southwest neighborhoods are about to get a special opportunity to add their rooftops to our city’s growing solar array. Through a nonprofit-led program called Solarize Washington, homes and small businesses can qualify for special pricing and take advantage of many incentives that make solar installations more affordable than ever.
NWSEED mention in the Wall Street Journal!
Today, on opposite sides of the country, diverse groups of citizens, businesses and nonprofit organizations launched community solar programs in Charlotte, N.C., and Salt Lake City. These grass-roots efforts are among the latest in a nationwide wave of “solarize” programs that aim to give community members easy and cut-rate access to home solar installations. Both programs exclusively offer high-performance, American-made SolarWorld solar panels installed by skilled local contractors at volume-discount pricing.
SolarWorld has a robust history of involvement in the community-solar movement. Since 2009, the company has partnered with solarize campaigns in 26 communities in four states to supply about 3 megawatts (MW) of American-made SolarWorld solar panels to nearly 1,000 families.