Stan Hungerford’s household is one of forty-one that installed solar in 2015 through the Solarize Kirkland program. Here’s his solar story, in his own words (edited for brevity):
A Long Interest in Efficiency
Having worked as a Chemical/Industrial Engineer and employed by the State of Alaska Environmental Conservation Department, I’ve always been interested in and concerned with efficiencies. I worked in the control of air pollution in Alaska, dealt with the oil and power generating companies as well as automotive pollution concerns. Since moving to Kirkland, with a home oriented with a roof pretty much exposed to Eastern and Western sun, I’ve often thought solar power would be a good thing to help reduce my consumption of the dwindling resources used to generate most of the electrical power in the United States. My key consideration was cost and availability, and with power so much less expensive than elsewhere, I felt no particular urgency as far as my budget was concerned.
When I visited a friend who lives in Bellingham on a large semi-rural property, growing flowers, fruits and vegetables for his and his wife’s own enjoyment and to sell at the local farmers’ market this past summer, I noted that he had installed solar. We had a nice long discussion of his system and how it works out what with the incentive programs now in place here in Washington. He noted that the panels were built in Bellingham, a far cry from having to depend on China as a source. I loved that the State government was trying to encourage development of this industry in Washington.
Opportune Timing with Solarize Kirkland
Upon my return home, by the collective locked mailbox setup for our group of homes, was a sign promoting the Solarize Kirkland program…how timely! I attended the August meeting, during which the discussion was almost exactly what my friend described! One very attractive aspect of the Solarize Kirkland program was that the city, power company and installers were working together to make the project as simple as possible, including gathering together all the permits and requirements for the project. My brother who lives near Honolulu, HI, had spent over a year getting his permissions and permits together for a project designed to provide for his power needs!
The fellow from Northwest Electric and Solar came out and estimated my system’s needs. It took about a week to install the system which started up 19 Nov 2016. My system consists of 22 Itek IT280 modules with a PVI 5200TL inverter and a new circuit breaker box. Since my system is installed on the ‘back’ side of the house, no-one can tell I have it installed!
I was amazed to see that even in these dark and short days of November-January, I was generating power sufficient to supply about 25% of my consumption, AND returning an average of about 1.5 kWh to Puget Sound Energy! Based on my 2014-2015 billing statements, I calculated that my new system would generate almost exactly the amount of energy I consumed over a 12-month period!
I am very happy with the installation and operation of the system, and the outstanding crew who did the actual work. The program is designed to make it extremely easy to get a solar power generating system installed and operating, and to yield a very satisfactory return on the major investment made. Of course, I would recommend the program to anyone interested.
I am disappointed with the computer program which purports to report operation of my system. It doesn’t seem to match the actual data I read off the meters, nor does it seem to match my billings. I see no way to track and learn the details of day-to-day or periodic operations. My brother and friend have much more detailed and interesting reports of their systems’ operations!
Act to Support Washington State Solar
Unfortunately, extension of the State program in which I have participated is “up in the air” in the current legislative session in Olympia. If the changes being suggested are put in place, it will make the whole system much more difficult for everyone involved, from the manufacturer to the end user, who will not see an encouraging rate of return on their investment. Contact the legislature which is still considering HB 2346!!!
Thanks to Stan for sharing his solar story! You can also read Bob & Kathy’s story.
We’re thrilled that the Solarize Kirkland program has been extended through 2016. Workshops are available all summer long to learn about adding solar at your home — register now!