We get asked various versions of this question: Can you break out what each solar component costs from my price? How much of a solar project is labor? If I did some the work for myself could I save myself a lot of money? And so on… Every job is a little different, but here are some averages. [caption id="attachment_1468" align="alignnone" width="578"] Component costs as a...

It really will. When your PV system makes more power than your home uses, your electrical service meter reverses — you can watch it go backward. This is called “net metering,” and you can sell the extra power back to the utility at retail rates. If you’re “off-grid,” this doesn't apply, since you’re not hooked up to a utility, but it’s...

Absolutely. The Pacific Northwest’s long summer days were made for solar. Thanks to all that sunlight and utility net metering programs, we can build energy credits in the summer months and work off of them in the shoulder months. Solar panels also operate more efficiently in our cooler summer weather, which means more power than hotter climates, not less. Solar energy...

What will happen to my solar panels during the next wind storm? The good news is that in the northwest we have a generally temperate climate. While we feel like we have high winds, our wind speeds just don’t compare to other places where solar is deployed. In fact, in most places in Washington our building codes require 85mph as a...

I used to consider myself a generalist. I thought that is what might make me a good entrepreneur. I know a little about a lot of things, graphic design, programming, science, business, gardening, you name it. One day I took the Strengths Finder personality test. Three of my top five strengths have to do with learning and exploring ideas. Along...

Around the office we read news stories from around the world everyday. On one level I'm sure it's good for our business to stay abreast of current events, but that's not why we do it. We read all of the news because we all love what we do. We find solar, sustainability, technology, distributed energy, and everything related to these subjects...

It's time to wrap up 2014. Many people think this is our slowest time of year. In fact, December is often one of the most stressful months for solar installers. Why? Because the Federal Income Tax Credit for solar energy installations dictates that a system be "placed in service" by December 31st in order to claim the 30% incentive on...

We don't encounter much Building Integrated Photovoltaic (BIPV) products out in the market place. Often times architects are drawn to the beauty of a window that can also produce electricity or shingles that function as both a roof and a PV array. The problem is that BIPV is often more expensive, less efficient, and has long-term maintenance issues. Even so, who is...

What am I thankful for? My incredible team that has decided to join me in riding the solar coaster. My beautiful wife that has supported me through every twist and turn of owning and operating a solar installation company based in Seattle. Easy access to coffee (see that out our front window? That's the Starbucks Global HQ) to fuel my work....

Here Washington is the not the only state trying to incent local manufacturing jobs. Bellingham based module manufacturer itek Energy to open a new plant in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Climate change may be endangering our abundant hydro-power resources. 50 percent of Seattle's hydro-power comes from glacial runoff. As glacier's are disappearing we'll need to find solutions to maintain power output in the face of...