City’s solarize campaign celebrates first installations

Local business Auto Spa among city's first solar panel installers.

When Suzanne Skone attended a Solarize Mercer Island workshop earlier this summer, her interest had originally been in installing a solar panel for her home. But Skone, as she further investigated, realized her business, was an even more perfect fit.

Auto Spa, located just off Island Crest Way in the Town Center, prides itself on its green approach to business. It doesn’t dispose of soiled water in Lake Washington and provides homeowners with an alternative to washing their vehicle in the driveway, which often leads to runoff into the city’s stormwater system.

Skone has made a career of this green consciousness. Trained as a mechanical engineer, she later returned to school to study biology with a focus on the environment.

Skone’s installation measures 6.6 kilowatts (kW) and on Friday during a ribbon cutting ceremony attended by city staff, councilmembers, and representatives from Northwest SEED, Auto Spa washed its first car using solar energy.

“The Auto Spa’s mission is to be a socially and environmentally responsible local business. We help support schools, activities and arts in the Mercer Island community and with our water technology we are able to keep auto-related pollutants out of our local waters,” said Skone. “Adding solar panels gives us the opportunity to produce clean, sustainable energy thereby reducing our carbon footprint.”

Already Skone said she is considering an installation for her home.

Islanders can receive rebates and discounts on panel installations from a city to a federal level. The Solarize Mercer Island campaign hopes to bring 30 new residential solar arrays on board. Participants will receive 10 to 15 percent off their purchase because of the savings of buying in bulk. For more information, visit:

The next workshop is scheduled for September 20.