Blog post from Barb Weist in the Office of Communications:
I recently added a presentation on a solar project rolling through my area, offering specials to one community at a time. It was pretty exciting, since we have talked about going solar since we bought our five acres in the country. Our home sits on a hill above a sloping pasture. Tall evergreens rim the pasture and a cleared area around the house, garden, and garage, but none shade the house, as we have full southeastern exposure. We’ve often dreamed of having a roof full of solar modules putting some green energy into our home and the grid.
There are many financial incentives for going solar right now, so I’m hoping we can work it out financially. First, if purchased before June 30, 2013, there’s no sales tax–some kind of state government incentive. And sales tax on $20-30K? That’s a deal.
Second, there’s a federal government tax incentive–up to 30% back, depending on eligibility. Plus until 2020 the government will send you an annual check for 54 cents per kWh produced. On an average-sized system that’s around $2500 per year!
Now factor in the fact that grid-tied systems allow you to effectively earn credit in the sunny months when you’re producing more power, offsetting those famous rainy days. So depending on the size of the system and your consumption, this could save several hundred dollars a year!
And finally, because they’re doing a group of orders in a community, they give you a bulk rate discount, say a couple thousand dollars. All-in-all, the system would pay for itself in less than ten years, even if you take out a loan to finance it, which we hope to do. Pretty tempting.
After the initial presentation, we had them come to our house for a site inspection. So on a dark, grey, rainy December afternoon, we talked about solar energy. The irony was not lost on me. But they confirmed my suspicions that our wide open south/east access and new roof made us an ideal candidate with 96% solar exposure, the most they had seen that day in five site inspections. We eagerly await the formal proposal for a system that should produce approximately 30-35% of our energy needs, more if we can further conserve energy in our house. We’ve done most of the obvious things, turning out lights, using compact fluorescents, double-paned windows, extra insulation, sealed heating ducts. But I’m sure we can find a few more things to tweak.
So hopefully this spring I will write with an update about our solar project. Yes, Virginia, solar does work in Seattle!