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Solar System on Snohomish Office Building

Les Schwab Tires
Published:2012-10-29 Business
Solar System on Snohomish Office Building    Print Snohomish Times    
Solar System on Snohomish Office Building

Northwest Wind & Solar has installed a 31.39kW photovoltaic (PV) solar system for a 6,000-square-footcommercial office and fleet maintenance shop that will be occupied by Kemp West Inc., a comprehensive vegetation management company that serves utility and municipal customers throughout the Pacific Northwest.

“We were intrigued by the idea of incorporating solar power into our new building; and after carefully analyzing the investment, installing the solar system came down to a sensible financial decision,” said Kari Hakso, Kemp West owner. “After meeting with NW Wind & Solar and learning about the system and its advantages for the long term, as well as incentives available through the Snohomish County PUD and others, we were excited to go solar.”

Additional incentives are offered by the State of Washington and the Federal Government. The state pays a production incentive of $0.15 per KWH for a system using equipment manufactured out of state. This system will nearly reach the maximum $5000 per year of production incentive. As a commercial business, the project qualifies for a 75 percent sales tax reduction. Finally there is a 30 percent federal income tax credit on the entire installed cost with the remainder of the cost then being eligible for accelerated depreciation. With all of these incentives factored in, the system will pay for itself in seven years then offer paid for electricity at the going rate for the remaining 30 or 40 year life of the system.

The installation is the highest efficiency available using SunPower 327 watt roof- mounted solar panels and SunPower String Inverters,” said Kevin Charap, installation manager for NW Wind & Solar. “The system will produce approximately 32,000 kWh of electricity per year and our demand will be somewhere between 30,000 and 50,000 kWh per year.”

“Because this is a new building, we don’t know for sure, but expect that the PV system will supply most of our electricity needs,” said Hakso. “We set out to build an office and shop that is low maintenance, highly functional, attractive and very energy efficient. Using a special oil burner that is designed for the purpose, we will be burning waste oil produced by our fleet of trucks to heat our maintenance shop. The building has many energy efficient windows to utilize passive solar heat and light. The lighting for the building earned additional energy savings incentives from Snohomish County PUD for requiring less energy than allowed by code. The project will be landscaped with native, drought tolerant plants requiring no irrigation once they are established.”

“The Kemp West project was a private installation, but got incentives from Snohomish PUD through our Solar Express program,” said Leslie Moynihan, Program Manager, and Customer Renewables for Snohomish County PUD. To learn more about the Snohomish County PUD program go to:

The general contractor for the Kemp West building was Puget West Construction. The architect was Capital Architects in Everett and the engineer was PerbixBykonen.

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