Two local community organizations – Bike Works and Clean Greens Farm & Market – will receive a donated system to generate renewable energy for their facility if enough homes in central and southeast Seattle neighborhoods choose to install solar electric systems in the coming months.
The donated solar systems serve as a community award for participation in Solarize Seattle: Central/Southeast, a project of Northwest Sustainable Energy for Economic Development (Northwest SEED) and Seattle City Light that is designed to accelerate solar energy installations through a group purchase of solar electric systems at a discounted price. Participants in the project attend a free public workshop to learn how solar energy works in Seattle and to qualify for a free site assessment for their home or business.
The solar systems will be donated by Puget Sound Solar and Artisan Electric, the Solarize Seattle: Central/Southeast project’s competitively-selected solar installation team, if the community reaches pre-determined installation targets.
“This is a very visible way for the homeowners to give something back to the central/southeast community when they install solar,” said Evan Leonard, Vice President of Artisan Electric. “Our goal is to increase solar awareness and build community, so donating systems based on project benchmarks made a lot of sense.”
The first solar electric system will be awarded to Bike Works when 30 project participants have signed contracts to install solar; the second system will be awarded to Clean Greens Farm & Market when 60 participants have signed contracts.
“We’re confident we can hit both of these benchmarks in Central/Southeast, given that our previous campaign in Northwest Seattle succeeded beyond all expectations,” said Mia Devine, project manager at Northwest SEED who is managing the Solarize Seattle: Central/Southeast campaign.
Bike Works and Clean Greens Farm & Market were selected by the Solarize Seattle: Central/Southeast Community Coalition, a volunteer group of individuals and non-profits such as Sustainable Seattle, who led the award selection process. The competitive application process took into account the suitability of each organization to generate solar electricity on site and to serve as a public educational tool.
“This project would be highly valuable to our organization,” says Bike Works Executive Director Deb Salls, “because it would reduce our direct energy costs, leaving more resources to invest in our youth and adult education programs. It would also be a point of pride for us and interest in the community.”
The donated solar electric system will be rated at 3 kilowatts (kW) and will include all equipment and labor required for a rooftop installation, in addition to 10 years of maintenance service (the system itself has a life expectancy of at least 25 years). The award is approximately a $15,000 value and will provide the host organizations with an additional value of up to $750 per year in electricity savings and Washington State production incentive payments.
Progress made towards achieving the community award installation targets can be tracked at www.solarizewa.org.
About Northwest SEED: Northwest SEED is a non-profit organization that empowers community scale clean energy through expert guidance that combines technical support, community education and practical implementation. www.nwseed.org.
About Sustainable Seattle: Sustainable Seattle is a non-profit organization focused on the long-term health and sustainability of the greater Seattle area by bringing together individuals, organizations, and businesses to build a sustainable future through innovation, education, and on-the-ground projects. www.sustainableseattle.org.
About Bike Works: Since 1996, Bike Works has offered innovative and engaging bicycle programs focused on youth, the environment, and the diverse community. The mission of Bike Works is to build sustainable communities by educating youth and promoting bicycling. The donated solar array will supply electricity to the bike shop.
About Clean Greens Farm & Market: Established in 2007 with the mission to create genuine, long-term economic, environmental, and social sustainability within the community, Clean Greens Farm & Market is opening the GREAN (Growing and Retrofitting Eco-friendly Agricultural Neighborhoods) House Café to serve as a social gathering space, community meeting room, and classroom. The donated solar array will supply electricity to the GREAN House Café.