Solar kicks in at Rocky Point

By Sarah Arney

The Rocky Point neighborhood gathered at Joan Schrammeck’s house for coffee and cookies Thursday morning to discuss the solar power system installed during the week by Whidbey Sun and Wind (WSW).

WSW project manager Mark Anderson was there to answer questions.

The system used solar panels from Silicon Energy in Marysville to get a statefunded rebate.

“The inverter system was also made in Marysville,” Anderson said, while explaining to more than 15 guests why the panels do not cover the entire roof of the garage.

“Since the house shades the eastern edge of the garage roof in the morning, we decided it would be most efficient to use fewer panels and move them over to the west,” he said.

Schrammeck’s 16 panel, 3 kilowatt system costs about $20,000, or $675 per kilowatt, before PUD credits and federal tax incentives were applied.

“PUD will be out to inspect the system next week,” Anderson said. “Then it will be good to go.”

Schrammeck’s system was one of two systems installed last week as a result of the community initiative, Solarize Stanwood/Camano, to expand the use of renewable solar energy in this region.

Down the shore a few miles, Fire Mountain Solar, of Mount Vernon, installed a system at the home of Roland Clark on Old Homestead Lane.

Representatives from the two installers have done about 50-60 site evaluations and more contracts are in process.

“It’s a little bit lengthy,” Anderson said. “Especially for those homeowners who need financing from PUD.”

One of Schrammeck’s neighbor at the open house Thursday, Lance Ross said he is very interested in solar power, and hopes his house will qualify.

“Any time you can use renewable energy, it’s good,” Ross said. “My house is in a nice sunny spot, but there are lots of trees.”

Anderson told him that each situation is different and that they’ve only rejected about 10 percent of applicants based on site visits.

“You can even use the solar panels as an awning over a patio,” he said. “They’re very strong. I’ve never seen one break.”

Anderson said that his Whidbey-based company rented a house on Camano for its installer-team and that they are sharing tips with the other installers.

“We are competitors in the real world,” he said. “They use a different racking system than we use.”

Schrammeck said her system is expected to reduce her power bill by about 25 percent or about $1,800 per year.

May 25 is the deadline to register for this limited-time offer that provides homeowners and small businesses with a special group rate and guidance through the process.

“We encourage people to register before the deadline at, even if they are not sure the time is right,” Schrammeck said.

One final Solarize Stanwood/ Camano workshop will take place Thursday, June 7, starting at 7 p.m. at the Vista Madrona Fire Station, 273 N. West Camano Drive.

Along with the two solar installation companies, partners in the project include Northwest SEED (Sustainable Energy for Economic Development), Snohomish County PUD and local volunteers.

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Appeared in Stanwood/Camano News on May 15, 2012.

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