Mercer Island, like other WA neighborhoods, is adding clean renewable energy to their rooftops
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.
The City’s Solarize campaign offers all Mercer Island residents and business owners the opportunity to install solar using a pre-selected contractor and competitive pricing packages. With federal tax credits and various incentives from the State, standard rooftop systems pay back in just 6-9 years; after that the equipment produces free solar power for another 20-30 years with minor maintenance.
By participating in the Solarize program, property owners receive about 15 percent off regular installation costs, and can reach project completion in just a few months (versus 6-12 months common when homeowners undertake their own research and bidding). Jointly managed in partnership with local energy non-profit Northwest SEED, the campaign has a goal of 30-60 new installations by year’s end, and many residents have been involved in various supporting roles. Interested residents attend a simple 75-minute information workshop, after which they become eligible for a free site assessment.
An average Mercer Island installation will produce approximately 7,000 kilowatt hours of clean solar electricity per year, about 50 to 70 percent of an average home’s requirements. In Washington, this amount of power would normally release about 6,000 pounds of Carbon Dioxide equivalent per year into the atmosphere during its production. Thus, each Solarize installation will help the City move towards its greenhouse gas reduction goals.
Based on a program that began in Portland, Oregon, local non-profit Northwest SEED launched Solarize in Seattle in 2011, and since then has facilitated hundreds of new solar installations around the greater Seattle region. The Solarize Mercer Island campaign is their first east of Seattle, and the Mercer Island Auto Spa project represents their 500th Solarize installation, achieving a total generation capacity of over 2,300 kilowatts. This amount is equivalent to one of the largest (400-foot-tall) wind turbines at PSE’s Wild Horse facility, and prevents the annual release of nearly two million pounds of Carbon Dioxide into the atmosphere from dirty energy sources, according to EPA figures.
For more information on the Solarize Mercer Island campaign visit: www.mercergov.org/solarpower
Northwest SEED contact:
Program Coordinator Meghan Barrier (206) 457-5403
City of Mercer Island contact:
City Sustainability Manager Ross Freeman (206) 275-7662