Solar in the Pacific NW!

As the rainy season begins here in the North West we feel it is a great time to share some information about solar options.  It is a common misperception that solar energy is worthless west of the Cascades.  However, the solar power that can be generated here is only slightly less that our sunny neighbors to the south.  With open access a photovoltaic system here can generate 4-5 kWh while our neighbors to the south may be able to produce around 6-7 kWh.  They also have trouble because of overheating their panels… we would rarely have that problem!

A couple of factors make solar a viable option here in the NW.

  • Costs have dropped about 50% the last year
  • Incentives for solar are still widely available

Done properly a system may be able to generate enough power to sell some back to the suppliers at a higher price than you would pay!  We are typically pay $0.08 per KwH but with the right system you could sell extra power back to the system for up to $0.54 per KwH!

For builders doing HERS ratings on their homes this will jump the rating by several points or more depending on the size system!  Alternative power sources are key to getting to a zero-energy or passive house level.  We’d be glad to work with any builders that would be interested in pursuing the zero-energy goals!

Solar thermal is another option.  Simply used for heating water or, it can be used for a radiant hydronic system, passive solar heat or better – as a hybrid of both of them!

For more details contact us or watch our future newsletters for more information.

About Kent Mitchell

30 years in various construction positions. Currently specializing in residential energy efficiency and green building methods. Also I am a new online business student at BYU-I
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