August and Melanie Kristoferson installed a solar array on their Mt. Baker home through the Solarize Washington program.[/caption] Solar energy is currently powering hundreds of Seattle homes, and residents of Burien, White Center, West Seattle, Georgetown and other southwest neighborhoods are about to get a special opportunity to add their rooftops to the growing solar array. Through a nonprofit-led program called Solarize Washington, homes and small businesses can qualify for special pricing and take advantage of many incentives that make solar installations more affordable than ever. Northwest Sustainable Energy for Economic Development (Northwest SEED) and Seattle City Light are working with several community groups to launch Solarize Southwest, a solar energy education and installation program that starts today and runs through October. The program will be co-led by a community coalition of local volunteers, which will spearhead neighborhood outreach. Supporting organizations include Sustainable West Seattle and Sustainable Burien. The campaign features a group-buy program that provides a streamlined process for residents and small businesses to purchase solar systems for a discounted price. Participants learn how solar photovoltaics (PV) works, how it is installed, what tax and production incentives are available to bring the price down, and how low-interest financing can spread out the cost. The limited-time campaign intends to install nearly one megawatt of solar energy in southwest Seattle and Burien by the end of 2014. Through a competitive bidding process, community volunteers selected Puget Sound Solar and Artisan Electric as the projectâ€™s solar installation team. These contractors will offer solar systems at discounted rates to project participants. Solarize Southwest will be the tenth campaign of Northwest SEEDâ€™s Solarize Washington program (www.solarizewa.org). To date, Solarize Washington campaigns have resulted in over 2 MW of new solar capacity, over 2,000 people educated through public workshops, 475 residents who installed solar on their homes, and more than $12 million injected into the local solar economy. The last Solarize campaign, Central/Southeast Seattle, was so successful that 885 kW of solar photovoltaics was installed on the grid and over 620 people attended workshops. Solarize Southwest is the third campaign sponsored by Seattle City Light, and momentum is already building to make this campaign even more successful than the last. Registration for Solarize Southwest is open to Seattle and Burien residents who live in the geographic area bordered by downtown Seattle to the north, I-5 to the east, and within Seattle City Light service territory. Free educational workshops will be held on Jul 19, Jul 24, Aug 9, Aug 26, Sept 10, Sept 17, and Oct 4. For more information and to pre-register for a workshop, visit www.solarizewa.org.]]>
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