Solarize Seattle is a concept borrowed from Portland.
The idea is that by pulling a community together, bulk discounts can be negotiated from suppliers and everyone gets a terrific deal installing solar on your home. What’s great about this idea is that it really works. In the current campaign, Solarize Seattle: Northeast, prices are about 25 percent less than what a homeowner might expect if they were to go it alone. Once you take into account production incentives, tax credits, and tax exemptions, you could save up to 50 percent on the upfront cost of your solar array in the first year.
Solarize Washington is a Northwest SEED initiative designed to bring solar energy to Washington homes. By partnering with grassroots sustainability groups and local installers, we help neighbors come together to enjoy significant discounts through the group purchase of solar systems. The Solarize initiative provides a streamlined process through which neighbors can collectively decide where to start, how to budget, what to buy, and who to hire.
So once upon a time (2011), Sustainable Northeast Seattle, a community group, teamed up with Northwest SEED, a local non-profit. Together they approached the Seattle solar installer community and ran us through the wringer. Our proposals were graded on experience, expertise, capacity, sustainability practices, sales practices, health and safety records, employment practices, quality at all levels of the installation and customer service, and last but not least price. In the end, program participants get to rest easy knowing the hard part of the homework has been done: who do I shop with, and how do I know I’m getting the best possible price?
NW SEED and Sustainable Northeast Seattle selected A&R Solar and Northwest Wind & Solar. Why two contractors? A&R Solar and Northwest Wind & Solar self-selected each other to work together as a team. We wanted to bring the best value to the program and knew that by collaborating together we could do it better than anyone else.
You can participate on several levels. For those with little time on their hands, just register and attend a free workshop or webinar to learn more about the program and how solar works in Seattle. After that, you qualify for a free site assessment. The assessment will often start over the phone using aerial photography and could end with a company representative coming to your house to take precise measurements. After that, you’ll receive a proposal based on the pricing negotiated by the selection committee before the program kicked off. Then it’s up to you whether or not to go solar.
Another way to participate is to become a volunteer. We always need people to help at events, put on events, and just get the word out. So again:
The process to get involved is very easy.
1. Register online – it’s super quick and easy
2. Attend a workshop.
3. Receive a free site assessment.
4. Receive a fixed price proposal.
5. Install solar panels.
6. Bask in the glory of knowing you produce your own clean green energy.
7. Tell your neighbors and friends about Solarize Seattle Northeast!
There’s only one catch: There is only a short window of time to participate. Registration opened on Tuesday and closes April 23rd. Don’t hesitate to register now. There is no obligation and no cost to participate. So what are you waiting for?