This new Solarize installation on the Island is designed to recharge electric vehicles. Photo courtesy of the city of Mercer Island

This new Solarize installation on the Island is designed to recharge electric vehicles. Photo courtesy of the city of Mercer Island

Solarize program leads to 45 new installations on Mercer Island

The city partnered with Sustainable Mercer Island and Spark Northwest on the project.

  • Sunday, January 20, 2019 1:30am
  • News

Solar capacity on the island has increased dramatically in the past year.

In the summer of 2018, the city launched its second Solarize Mercer Island campaign, which offered special group pricing on rooftop solar installation using a community-selected contractor, Sphere Solar Energy.

Nearly 200 people attended one of four free workshops to learn more, and half of those who attended chose to arrange a free site assessment of their roof’s solar potential. By the end of December, 45 Island households had installed (or contracted for) new solar arrays, and several are using them to refuel electric vehicles.

By partnering with the local citizens’ group Sustainable Mercer Island and the regional nonprofit Spark Northwest, solar capacity on the Island was increased by 50 percent (over 470 kilowatts) in just six months. Another 16 installations occurred independently in 2018, outside of the Solarize program.

Thanks to a federal tax rebate, group discounts and solar energy incentives from the state, most arrays are expected to pay off in about seven years. Mercer Island now has 184 known solar installations, ranging from just a few panels to more than 350 panels at two Mercer Island School District facilities.

To read more about the city’s range of solar programs go online to www.mercergov.org/SolarPower.

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