Community Solar on Capitol Hill

A&R Solar has completed installation of a 25.92 kW photovoltaic system on the rooftop of the Holiday Apartments, a newly renovated affordable housing apartment building at 1001 East John Street, just one block off Broadway in Seattle’s Capitol Hill neighborhood. Capitol Hill’s first community solar project is a joint venture between Seattle City Light and Capitol Hill Housing, who manages the Holiday Apartments building.

A&R Solar was proud to be selected as the installer of choice for the latest of Seattle City Light’s four community solar projects to date.  Suzanne DuRard, Seattle City Light’s Community Solar Program Manager, stated that “we are quite excited about how affordable it turned out to be.  We had been assuming it would be a fair bit higher, so it was a good learning experience for the utility and I think would be quite interesting to owners of similar buildings.”

Seattle City Light fronted the capital to build the system and is now inviting customers to participate by purchasing “solar units” for $150 each. At the end of each year between now and 2020, each participant in the program will get a credit back on his/her electric bill based on how much energy the system generates. It is expected that by 2020, participants in the project will recoup their investment and then some as savings on their energy bills.

As an added benefit, the Capitol Hill project supports housing affordability. When the community solar program ends in July 2020, ownership of the array will transfer from the City of Seattle to Capitol Hill Housing, who will use it to lower the cost of providing 30 affordable apartments to the Holiday’s low income residents. “Operating affordable housing is expensive, so reducing long-term energy costs is eminently practical.” said Capitol Hill Housing’s Joel Sisolak.

A&R Solar has demonstrated that solar energy is not only viable in Seattle, but can be done in an economically and socially just way. “We’re excited to see community solar grow in the region,” said Reeves Clippard, President and Co-Founder of A&R Solar, “It’s great to see a working model that brings together a government agency, not-for-profit service provider, local business and homeowners in a project that positively impacts the community while supporting local jobs.”