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.
Appeared in Snoqualmie Valley Record on September 10, 2015.