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.
Northwest Sustainable Energy for Economic Development (Northwest SEED) and Seattle City Light are working with several community groups to launch Solarize Southwest, a solar energy education and installation program that starts today and runs through October. The program will be co-led by a community coalition of local volunteers, which will spearhead neighborhood outreach. Supporting organizations include Sustainable West Seattle and Sustainable Burien.
The campaign features a group-buy program that provides a streamlined process for residents and small businesses to purchase solar systems for a discounted price. Participants learn how solar photovoltaics (PV) works, how it is installed, what tax and production incentives are available to bring the price down, and how low-interest financing can spread out the cost. The limited-time campaign intends to install nearly one megawatt of solar energy in southwest Seattle and Burien by the end of 2014.
Through a competitive bidding process, community volunteers selected Puget Sound Solar and Artisan Electric as the project’s solar installation team. These contractors will offer solar systems at discounted rates to project participants.
Solarize Southwest will be the tenth campaign of Northwest SEED’s Solarize Washington program (www.solarizewa.org). To date, Solarize Washington campaigns have resulted in over 2 MW of new solar capacity, over 2,000 people educated through public workshops, 475 residents who installed solar on their homes, and more than $12 million injected into the local solar economy. The last Solarize campaign, Central/Southeast Seattle, was so successful that 885 kW of solar photovoltaics was installed on the grid and over 620 people attended workshops. Solarize Southwest is the third campaign sponsored by Seattle City Light, and momentum is already building to make this campaign even more successful than the last.
Registration for Solarize Southwest is open to Seattle and Burien residents who live in the geographic area bordered by downtown Seattle to the north, I-5 to the east, and within Seattle City Light service territory. Free educational workshops will be held on Jul 19, Jul 24, Aug 9, Aug 26, Sept 10, Sept 17, and Oct 4. For more information and to pre-register for a workshop, visit www.solarizewa.org.
About Northwest SEED: Northwest SEED is a non-profit organization that empowers community scale clean energy through expert guidance that combines technical support, community education and practical implementation. www.nwseed.org.
About Seattle City Light: Seattle City Light is the tenth largest public electric utility in the United States. It has some of the lowest cost customer rates of any urban utility, providing reliable, renewable and environmentally responsible power to nearly 1 million Seattle area residents. City Light has been greenhouse gas neutral since 2005, the first electric utility in the nation to achieve that distinction. www.seattle.gov/light.