Call for Partners for Innovative Neighborhood Solar Program

Local non-profit Northwest Sustainable Energy for Economic Development (Northwest SEED) and Seattle City Light are seeking community partners for a new Solarize Washington campaign in central and southeast Seattle area neighborhoods.

 

Photo of Councilmember Mike O'Brien helping to install solar panels.

City Councilmember Mike O’Brien helps out on the first Solarize installation in Northeast Seattle in February.

Local non-profit Northwest Sustainable Energy for Economic Development (Northwest SEED) and Seattle City Light are seeking community partners for a new Solarize Washington campaign in central and southeast Seattle area neighborhoods.  

Solarize Washington is a community-driven initiative to bring solar energy to homes and businesses in Seattle City Light’s service territory.  The program uses an innovative neighborhood group purchase process to achieve discounts and simplify the process of “going solar” for Seattle residents.  Solarize campaign staff work with community groups, individual volunteers, and local solar installers to provide a streamlined process and free community workshops for participants.  To date, Northwest SEED has completed six Solarize campaigns including the Seattle neighborhoods of Queen Anne, Magnolia, Northeast Seattle, and Northwest Seattle.  These campaigns have achieved discounts of up to 25 percent off the cost of a solar system and brought about the installation of nearly 200 residential solar installations in the region.

Sustainable Queen Anne partnered with Northwest SEED to launch the city’s pilot Solarize campaign in that neighborhood. “People are surprised to learn that Germany, which is the solar capital of the world, is darker than Seattle,” said Heather Trim, chair of Sustainable Queen Anne. During that campaign 30 homes went solar, resulting in 130 kilowatts of solar power added to the grid.

“We’re seeing more and more customers ask us about how they can install solar panels at their homes,” Seattle City Light Conservation Resources Director Glenn Atwood said. “Solarize is a great way to make that process easier and more affordable. Seattle City Light hopes to continue its partnership in other neighborhoods.”

In order to launch the next Solarize campaign this summer, Northwest SEED and Seattle City Light are seeking to connect with residents and community groups of central and southeast Seattle who want to see a Solarize campaign come to their neighborhood.  Community volunteers play an integral role in the success of a Solarize campaign, taking the lead on contractor selection and community engagement.  Participating neighborhoods will receive assistance from Northwest SEED to competitively select a solar installer, conduct neighborhood outreach and education, implement a series of free workshops, and facilitate the installation of solar PV systems.

A volunteer orientation meeting will be scheduled in late April or early May.  Additional information and volunteer job descriptions can be found online at www.solarizewa.org.  Individuals interested in joining the upcoming Solarize campaign as a volunteer should contact Mia Devine at mia@nwseed.org or 206-267-2213. 

About Northwest SEED: Northwest SEED is a nonprofit organization that empowers community scale clean energy through expert guidance that combines technical support, community education and practical implementation. www.nwseed.org.  

About Seattle City Light: Seattle City Light is the 10th largest public electric utility in the United States. City Light has been greenhouse gas neutral since 2005, the first electric utility in the nation to achieve that distinction. www.seattle.gov/light.