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City of Seattle

Mike McGinn, Mayor
NEWS ADVISORY

SUBJECT:  Community Solar Project makes Renewable Energy Available to All
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:   
6/21/2011  4:30:00 PM
FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT:
Aaron Pickus  (206) 684-4000

Community Solar Project makes
Renewable Energy Available to All

Jefferson Park Installation Will Double as Picnic Shelters

SEATTLE - Seattle City Light customers can now purchase solar energy even if they can't install solar panels on their homes, Mayor Mike McGinn announced today.

City Light and Seattle Parks and Recreation are working together to install solar panels at Jefferson Park in Beacon Hill. The Community Solar project will allow up to 500 people to buy portions of the array's electrical output through June 2020 for $600 per portion.

"Renewable energy sources like solar provide the opportunity to reduce our impact on the environment and protect the quality of life in our community," Mayor Mike McGinn said. "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."

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. Northwest SEED also evaluated more than 20 potential sites as part of developing the Seattle Community Solar project.

"Many people who would like to use solar energy are unable to do so because they live in apartments, condominiums or other homes without space to install the collector panels," City Light Conservation Resources Director Glenn Atwood said. "This community solar project eliminates that barrier and demonstrates that despite our Rain City reputation, solar works in Seattle."

Catherine Hillenbrand was one of the first people to sign up for Community Solar today. "I'm really excited to enroll in Seattle's Community Solar project because it's a chance for me to participate in solar without having to put panels on my own roof," she said.

Solar panels will double as the roofs for three picnic shelters at the park. Construction will take place as part of the Parks Department's Beacon Mountain project, funded by the Parks and Green Spaces Levy, which also includes a spray park, climbing boulders, slides and other amenities for summer fun. Beacon Mountain construction is expected to start in July and be finished early next year.

"Neighborhood residents have sought picnic shelters for Jefferson Park for 10 years, so we were happy to find a creative way to make that happen as an added bonus to the Community Solar project," Acting Parks Deputy Superintendent Eric Friedli said.

Seattle City Light is the 10th largest public electric utility in the United States. It has some of the lowest cost customer rates of any urban utility, providing reliable, renewable and environmentally responsible power to nearly 1 million Seattle area residents. City Light has been greenhouse gas neutral since 2005, the first electric utility in the nation to achieve that distinction.

Download the customer agreement to buy solar energy from the Community Solar project - Acrobat PDF
View a rendering of the updates to Jefferson Park - Acrobat PDF

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