Homeowners Meet to Learn Details Behind “Solarize Thurston”

Residents of the Griffin Area met Monday evening at the Griffin Fire Department Headquarters to learn about the “Solarize Thurston” project and to meet representatives of the installer selected for the project, South Sound Solar.

The Solarize Thurston project is a way for residents to install solar equipment on their homes faster and less expensively than normal. A selected solar installer makes a small variety of solar equipment available at special prices, then adds a free site assessment and attractive purchase terms. Also, low interest loans are being made available from the local Generations Credit Union and Obee Credit Union.

Those in attendance heard a description of the financial incentives currently in place. These incentives, described in greater detail in an article published in April (click here) include:

  • Washington State sales tax exemption
  • 30% Federal tax credit
  • Washington state production incentive
  • Net metering

Why is now a particularly good time to install solar? For one thing, some of the financial incentives are set to expire. The sales tax exemption expires June 30, 2013. The Federal tax credit expires at the end of Tax Year 2016. The production incentive expires June 30, 2020. It’s worth noting the sales tax exemption and Federal tax credit help with the initial purchase. The production incentive, though, pays year in and year out, until it expires. The earlier your system is up and running, the longer you’ll receive that production incentive.

Your local Solarize Thurston team evaluated responses to a Request for Proposal in which installers were asked to propose prices for specific modules (the solar panels) and inverters. These installers needed to provide Washington-built as well as equipment manufactured outside the state. South Sound Solar responded with a superior array of equipment choices. Here are the solar packages proposed by South Sound Solar:

Specific base prices were negotiated for each equipment package. To see these prices, all you need to do is click here to register online. Those who register are under no obligation to proceed further with the program. Homeowners who register will not pay anything until they decide to contract with South Sound Solar to install equipment on their home.

A system of about 3 – 5 kw in size is a typical system. What factors would increase or decrease the price over that for this “base” system?

A “starter system” – that is, a system of about 2 kw or smaller – would be priced at $1 per watt higher. This makes sense if you consider that certain wiring and other basic work must be done, no matter what the system’s size. There’s a certain size below which price-per-watt cannot cover the cost of the electrical work required.

Large residential systems – those 6 – 10 kw in size – would enjoy a $0.50 per watt reduction in price. It’s the opposite of the small system restriction; the basic electrical system infrastructure can accommodate systems of greater size and the price doesn’t increase as fast, as the size of the system increases.

Systems specifically designed to be expanded and systems that require electrical panel upgrades would incur additional charges.

Steep roofs, metal roofs, ground mounted systems, and building more complicated support structures would likely increase the cost.

The pricing proposal participants in the Solarize Thurston project receive will detail the pricing for their custom system, plus estimates of the actual incentives the system is qualified to receive and the years to payback. South Sound Solar is offering attractive payment terms, starting with $1000 due at signing. The balance on the materials (about 60% of the total cost) is due before installation commences. These payments will be customized to meet suppliers’ and customer’s needs. The remainder of the installation costs are due on completion of project installation, inspection, and PSE meter installation.

South Sound Solar is a full service installer. This is why they are offering a 10% discount for solar hot water systems installed with PV. And, they can offer battery back-up grid tied systems, for homeowners looking for something more than the grid tied systems expected to comprise most of the Solarize Thurston installations.

To participate in the Solarize Thurston project, interested homeowners simply register with the Solarize Thurston project. The easiest way to register is online. Ready to register? Just click this link and identify yourself as being in the “Westside Group” (in the blank for “Community Group or Neighborhood Name”). You will be contacted by a representative of South Sound Solar, who will answer questions you may have and will ask you a few questions regarding your solar installation goals. You can schedule a no obligation site evaluation, while you’re on the phone call. An evaluator from South Sound Solar will look up your property, on Google Earth and then will come to your home to take measurements and to discuss with you possible options for siting your solar installation.

In consultation with you, South Sound Solar will design a custom installation to meet your desires and your site. A comprehensive proposal, including the costs, the impact of financial incentives, and a likely payback period will be presented to you.

Special low-interest financing is currently available to participants in the Solarize Thurston program, through OBee and Generations credit unions. Through these credit unions, you can install solar on your home at only 3%.


Registration in the Solarize Thurston program will close Friday, July 13. Click here to read all our articles on the Solarize Thurston program and visit the program’s web site at  http://solarizethurston.org/  We think you’ll agree, if you’ve ever thought of installing solar on your home, this is a great time to take the next step. Register and receive an evaluation of your site.

Posted in Solarize Thurston.