Woodinville Montessori School will receive a donated solar electric system to generate renewable energy for the school through the Solarize Woodinville campaign. The system is donated by the campaign’s community-selected installer, Puget Sound Solar, and Bellingham-based solar panel manufacturer Itek Energy.
“Puget Sound Solar is excited for this opportunity to promote solar education” said Pam Burton, co-owner of Puget Sound Solar. “The Woodinville community was great to work with; so many people were interested in solar and other ways to reduce fossil-fuel consumption. We are very pleased to be able to present the community with this educational solar system”.
The donated solar systems serve as a community award for participation in Solarize Woodinville, a project of the Seattle non-profit Northwest SEED designed to accelerate solar energy installations through a group purchase of solar electric systems at a discounted price.
Woodinville Montessori students will use the solar installation to learn about science, sustainability, journalism, and even art. The school plans to purchase a monitoring system to allow students to track and analyze energy production.
“Woodinville Montessori School is delighted to be the recipient of this solar donation through the Solarize Woodinville campaign. Through first-hand experience with solar energy production, students will learn about the beauty and simplicity of clean, free energy from the sun. One day, our students will no longer perceive solar energy as “alternative” but rather as a normal means of obtaining energy. Care for the environment and the need to take action in support of it are tenets of Montessori education,” said Mary Schneider, WMS Head of School.
In addition to facilitating the donation, the Solarize Woodinville campaign educated 159 Woodinville residents about solar at four public workshops, and helped seven residents install solar. The new installations total 54.9 kilowatts of new solar capacity, saving approximately 27 tons of carbon emissions annually. Northwest SEED also worked with the City of Woodinville to remove an unnecessary permitting requirement, saving residents $500-$2000 on every future solar installation and reducing the timeline to install solar.
“The new solar installations will help Woodinville residents build resilience and reduce their environmental footprint” said Jill Eikenhorst, project coordinator with Northwest SEED. “Solar is a great complement to Washington’s hydroelectric power, especially as climate change affects summer power supply and Puget Sound Energy phases out coal plants.”
The Solarize Woodinville participants join the larger Solarize Northwest movement. Since launching in 2012, the program has educated 4,359 people and helped 950 families and businesses install solar, totaling 4.8 megawatts of clean energy in the region. Northwest SEED estimates the program has supported 29 jobs annually in working with fourteen local solar installers.
Northwest SEED partnered with local non-profit 21 Acres and a dozen local volunteers to organize and publicize the Solarize Woodinville campaign, and the Sustainable Path Foundation funded the effort.
“One side benefit of the project was the connections made between local residents,” Eikenhorst said, “At the celebration event, I heard our volunteers and partners already talking about the next sustainability projects they want do.”
Registration for Solarize Woodinville is now closed and no more workshops are scheduled. Homeowners and business owners can still visit www.solarizenw.org to find resources on going solar, including a list of solar installers selected by Solarize communities so far.