Solar Power Goes Community Style In Seattle

Seattle in the Pacific Northwest isn’t a place one immediately thinks of as being a solar power center. Sun does shine there though at least on occasion, so folks will throw up solar panels to see what happens for harvesting clean energy. A local brewery there did that not too long ago, and now the city and a local utility have plans to do the same.

Seattle City Light and the city’s parks and recreation department plan to let the utility’s customers purchase solar energy through an innovative public/private partnership at a local park. Jefferson Park on Seattle’s Beacon Hill will be ground zero for a “Community Solar” project that local residents can buy into in exchange for what looks like some form of energy credits back on one’s electric bill.

image via Seattle City Light

Buying into the Seattle Community Solar project does have a hefty upfront cost – $600 per portion – and will only allow up to 500 people to buy in. It is believed though that enough people who want solar panels but for whatever reason can’t install them – or just folks who want to have a feel good green experience – will choose to participate, as city mayor Mike McGinn stated “this is an important step to make solar power more accessible and I commend City Light and Parks for making this sustainable energy option available to our residents.”

Solar panels will double as the roofs for three picnic shelters at the park, according to City Light. The $300,000 solar project is being paid for by a grant from the U.S. Department of Energy to City Light and Northwest SEED, a non-profit organization dedicated to developing clean energy resources in the Pacific Northwest. Construction is expected to be finished early next year.

Curious about other clean energy projects like this? Check out our story archive.

I am the editor-in-chief and founder for EarthTechling. This site is my desire to bring the world of green technology to consumers in a timely and informative matter. Prior to this my previous ventures have included a strong freelance writing career and time spent at Silicon Valley start ups.