Residential Solar Greens Up Seattle Area

Just southwest of Seattle, the Sixth Place Apartments development in White City  was originally only supposed to be “solar ready”. Now, thanks to funds from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) and solar tax credits, the project has grown to become what the developer says will be the largest residential solar installation in the state of Washington.

The Sixth Place Apartments are part of  Greenbridge, a mixed income community that will ultimately be comprised of 900 rental and for-sale homes. All 9 roofs of the Sixth Place apartment development are being outfitted with a total of 213 solar photovoltaic (PV) panels to create what is reported to be a 50.1 kilowatt array. When the housing unit was initially designed, cost constraints took a full blown solar installation off of the table but the current economic climate wound up making the project feasible. With the help of $375,000 in Recovery Act funds and an additional $125,000 in tax credits, the King County Housing Authority was able to meet the $500,000.00 total installation price.

Greenbridge Solar Install

image via Bill Wright

When fully operational, the array is expected to generate 52,558 kilowatt hours of clean energy per year, with any excess power going back into the grid. There are other energy efficiency strategies at work to make these sustainable homes, too. The buildings’ walls, roofs and windows are being insulated to standards significantly beyond code requirements and Energy Star lighting is being used on the interior and exterior of the building. Solar powered attic fans are being installed to keep units cooler during summer months by venting hot air from the attic and light tubes will minimize the need to use electric lighting during daylight hours.

The King County Housing Authority’s efforts at creating sustainable housing in the area has a solar installation located on the roof of the community center at Greenbridge, as well as at twelve other sites that they own or manage.

  • Turbofroggy

    This cost $9.98 a watt to install. Who the hell charges that much to install solar here in Seattle? My system installed just 20 miles north of Seattle cost $6.20 a watt installed, with premium equipment (Sharp + SMA + Unirac). They paid WAY too much, around $189,000 too much. Did they get competitive bids? Nice to see tax credits and Recover Act money go to greedy contractors. Fantastic.

    • hu5

      this cost included additional work like solatubes and solar powered attic fans, plus some misc upgrades. the actual PV array cost much less.

      • Turbofroggy

        $189,000 would be a lot of solatubes and solar powered attic fans. Makes a payments on the contractors gas powered ski boat as well. I found after getting bids from a lot of diffrent contractors in the solar and geothermal area that there were an alarming amount that just mark up everything 30% more than it should be due to the tax credit. 7 out of the 10 contractors that I got bids from did this. You have to shop around to find the ones that charge an honest price. It is far worse in the heating and cooling business than solar.

  • u00a0Wow, that really cost a lot. But more energy more benefits to gain. It will cost less nowadays as time passes.nGreat post, keep sharing.nnLets go green.