by Sara 

Push for solar in Magnolia


Sustainable Magnolia is looking for residents who are interested in adding solar panels to their home or small business.  The non-profit Northwest SEED (Sustainable Energy for Economic Development) has chosen the Magnolia/Interbay area  as the next neighborhood in Seattle to participate in Solarize Seattle. The zip codes that are eligible are 98199 and 98119 (west of 15th  Ave West).

This project is designed to reduce the cost of adding solar panels to your home, small condo or small business. By coming together as a group, participants will get a solar contractor who has been already been selected based on quality, capability, and price.  Solarize Magnolia participants will also be able to take advantage of Federal and State tax incentives for renewable energy.

In the just completed Solarize Queen Anne project, there were 30 solar  installations with 130 total kilowatts (kw) installed.  The average installation was 4.5 kw. 

If you want more information, you can register here starting July 18th and  attend an informational workshop on the following dates:  

? Saturday, July 23, 11:30-1pm at the Magnolia Library;

? Wednesday, August 24, 7-8:30pm at the Discovery Park ELC;

? Saturday, September 24, 11:30-1pm at the Magnolia Library;

? Thursday, October 20, 7-8:30pm at the Discovery Park ELC.

You can also visit the Solarize Magnolia booth at Magnolia’s Summerfest where you can meet the selected contractor and view solar equipment.   There is also an information booth at the Farmer?s Market on Saturdays.

They are also looking for volunteers.  If you are interested, contact them at

About the author 


  1. If this is an economically viable idea, why are volunteers and Federal & State tax incentives necessary?

    1. so they can better compete with non-renewables like coal, natural gas, oil which also receive Federal and State subsidies.

      1. Thank you for not telling me (us) that this will change the weather next week, next year, etc.

        My question is really whether these solar panels make economical sense as a “stand alone” product.? In other words, if there wasn’t government subsidies, would an average person make this sort of investment?

        1. It’s hard to say.? Without government subsidies, would the average person build the Grand Coulee Dam, or drill for oil in Iraq, or build a long distance transmission line?? How do you make a comparison?

          For the answer you’re looking for, without incentives it’s a 30+ year payback for the average homeowner, but a it’s a better investment?for gov’t + utilities to handle growth via rooftop solar PV than to build new power plants.? So smile every time you see a new rooftop solar?installation, because that homeowner is?helping keep your?electricity cheap.

          1. The Grand Coulee Dam and drilling for oil in Iraq benefits many people. The governments return on investment is good.

            Placing a solar system on the roof of your house, with government subsidies, benefits an individual/family. Very different scenarios.

            Utilities are forced to invest in solar and wind farms – ?I wonder if they left it to market forces, whether they would consider them good investments.

            30 year payback seems like a long time. Not that I dispute your estimation, but I?d love to see the numbers regarding the costs and other assumptions used to attain this number.

            I don?t like the fact that I am paying a premium on my utility bills to subsidize an economically unsupportable ?home improvement? like this, and I really don?t like tax money spent in this fashion.

            If people choose to use their own money to place solar panels on their home, more power to them.

          2. You’re wrong, utilities are not “forced” to invest in solar or wind farms. They negotiate and sign power purchase agreements with solar and wind energy providers the same as they would with any other energy provider. Often times renewable energy projects are NOT built because they can’t find a buyer.

            And for someone who doesn’t know the costs or assumptions regarding? solar as an investment, you appear to know that the Grand Coulee Dam and drilling for oil in Iraq is a “good” investment. Read up if you need to see the solar RIO broken down, it’s specific for our state:

            I don’t like that significantly more of my tax dollars go to subsidize the protection of private oil drilling companies and the continuing pursuit of waging two wars, all while overall taxes continue to decrease. At least with rooftop solar you have a choice.

          3. Utilities are required by the legislature to expend a certain percentage on ?renewable energy?, so I beleive they are” forced” to invest in things like solar and wind farms. My point is, I don?t think they would do so if it were left to market forces.
            You?re right that I don?t know the costs or assumptions used to calculate the 30 year pay back ? that?s why I asked.
            I assume income from selling the power generated by the Grand Coulee Dam has covered the cost and upkeep. If you perceived I had irrefutable evidence, i.e. ?knowledge?, and that bothered you, my apologies.
            Your last paragraph wanders.
            Again, I have no problem with people spending their own money for solar panels on their roofs, but when it doesn?t make economical sense on its own merits, and the only way the industry can find buyers is by lobbying the politicians to generate subsidies, it just seems silly to me ?

          4. How about we forget about economic sense and think more about environment. The government is investing in solar energy by subsidies so they don’t have to build more energy producing plants that poison are air and land… Now I?m no tree hugger but I’m all for tax money going to projects that better human kind in the long run. This will benefit people in the future more than anyone today. Plan for the preservation on the world not your pocket book. 🙂
            preservation on the world not your pocket book. 🙂

          5. One error:? It was not the legislature, but an initiative that mandated that? private utilities obtain 15% of their energy from “renewable resources” by 2020, or pay penalties.? And in the wonderful wisdom of the initiative writers, they exempted hydro-electric energy from their definition of “renewable” even though it is probably the best and most economical renewable resource we have.? So companies like Puget Sound Energy are artificially? forced to pay for wind farms in spite of technical and economic deficiencies.? By also providing incentives for homeowners and businesses to install solar-electric systems, they get a widely distributed renewable energy source to reduce their dependance on other sources.

          6. My suggestion is that your utility bills have a discount from homeowners installing solar panels, not a premium.?

            Rooftop?solar incentives?are cheap compared to subsidizing the nuclear power industry to build more reactors.? Those same solar panels generate power on-site, so?fewer transmission lines are needed.? More solar usage means less use of coal, gas, and hydro.? This lowers costs and increases revenue from exported power.? These are some of the investment returns from gov’t+utility incentives for solar.? Reasonable people can differ on the specific amounts of solar incentives relative to the rest of our energy policy, but I hope it’s obvious that there are benefits there.?

            Think of it this way, if your neighbors go to some trouble and personal capital expense to put solar panels up on their roofs, they’ll get the satisfaction of getting electricity in a way that will still be viable 100 years from now.? This is the ‘green’ part.? You’ll get the satisfaction of not having to finance a multi-billion dollar new powerplant on your utility bill.? This is the ‘economic return on investment’ part.

Comments are closed.

{"email":"Email address invalid","url":"Website address invalid","required":"Required field missing"}
Subscribe to get the latest updates