By Sarah Arney
Residents got fired up to harness the sun’s energy at the third Solarize Stanwood/ Camano meeting at Stanwood High School recently.
Three committees were formed to work with Snohomish PUD’s Solar Express Team and the not-forprofit organization Northwest SEED (Sustainable Energy for Economic Development) to expand solar power in Stanwood and Camano Island.
“It’s obvious that Stanwood and Camano Island are committed to renewable energy and sustainability,” said Jessica Mitchell, PUD’s customer renewables program manager.
“PUD is proud to be part of the community’s efforts,” Mitchell said.
The steering committee met with Northwest SEED yesterday to work on a request for proposals (RFP) specific to this region. The group started by reviewing past RFP templates and developing a timeline for selecting a contractor, said Northwest SEED Alexandra Sawyer.
“The RFP documents should be kept within the group, to keep the process fair,” Sawyer said. “We want to ensure that all installers have equal opportunity.”
One volunteer, Clay Thompson signed up to be on the steering committee, then offered to help with outreach, too.
“I am a small business owner on Camano Island and a big fan of solar and other green power sources,” Thompson said.
An outreach committee has started planning its strategy to get the word out and to recruit enough participants to make the effort a success. They decided to have an information table at the Port Susan Snow Goose & Birding Festival in February.
The Solarize Stanwood/Camano program is recruiting private property owners to join in a group effort to install solar systems. Participants will benefit from discounts on hardware and installation.
The state of Washington is offering incentives through 2020 for purchasing equipment locally, and the federal government is offering tax credits as well.
Starting with a sticker price of $30,000 for instate equipment, with discounts estimated at about $5,500 for the group rate, and a federal tax incentive valued around $7,000, homeowners could get a solar power system for something between $9,000 to $14,000, or a monthly payment to PUD of $180, approximately.
“We hope to be installing systems this spring,” Mitchell said.
The mentoring team committee is comprised of existing solar homeowners who will share insights from their experiences including successes and lessons learned, Mitchell said.
For information see the websites at www.snopud.com/solarexpress and www.nwseed.org.
The next meeting is set for 7 p.m., Jan. 5, 2012, at the Stanwood PUD meeting room, 9024 271st Street NW.
Appeared in Stanwood/Camano News on December 20, 2011.