Northwest Solar Communities

Rooftop solar installations in the Northwest are growing at a rate of over 30% annually, providing an ever increasing number of jobs, and a growing share of diversified clean energy. As residents and businesses increasingly choose solar, jurisdictions and utilities are searching for new systems to efficiently meet increased customer demand for permits and interconnection. Responding to this challenge, Northwest Solar Communities, a coalition of jurisdictions, utilities, industry partners and citizen groups, is working together to make rooftop solar electricity more cost-effective for all.

The original coalition grew out of the Evergreen State Solar Partnership (ESSP, see below), led by the Washington Department of Commerce and Northwest SEED under the U.S. Department of Energy’s Rooftop Solar Challenge program, a nationwide effort to reduce the “soft costs” associated with installing rooftop solar electricity. Northwest Solar Communities is working under the U. S. Department of Energy’s Rooftop Solar Challenge II program.

Objectives:

  • Lower the cost of rooftop solar electric systems by streamlining and standardizing permitting processes and interconnection standards.
  • Improve market conditions by creating business certainty for solar PV deployment across the Pacific Northwest
  • Facilitate the adoption of solar financing options to make solar energy affordable for all residents.

For more information, visit the Northwest Solar Communities website. Check out project progress, download free templates and access resources to streamline solar in your community by visiting Northwest Solar Communities.

Solar WordCloud

Evergreen State Solar Partnership (2011-2012)

Northwest Solar Communities is Phase 2 of the project that began with the Evergreen State Solar Partnership.

Purpose

Rooftop solar installations in Washington are growing at a rate of over 30% annually, providing an ever increasing number of jobs, and a small but growing share of diversified clean energy. As residents and businesses increasingly choose to install solar electric systems, jurisdictions and utilities are searching for new systems to efficiently meet increased customer demand for permits and interconnection. Responding to this challenge, a team of four jurisdictions, utilities, and industry partners, has come together to develop standardized solutions to make the process of going solar simpler, faster, and more cost effective for customers and the jurisdictions and utilities that serve them.

Team

Led by the WA Department of Commerce and Northwest SEED, the ESSP team was strategically chosen to represent Washington’s diverse regulatory and market environment. The team includes the cities of: Seattle, Bellevue, Edmonds, Ellensburg; and their load serving utilities: Seattle City Light, Puget Sound Energy, Snohomish Public Utility District, Ellensburg Electric Services Utility. Facilitation partners, Solar Washington and Sustainable Connections are also key members of the team. Together, the jurisdictions represent 12% of Washington State’s population while their load serving utilities serve over 60% of the Washington State population.

Goals

  1. Create proposals to streamline the permitting and interconnection process and improve net metering and interconnection standards
  2. Implement these refined processes and standards in the 4 jurisdictions
  3. Research and develop financing options that enable direct financing, community solar programs, and 3rd party ownership
  4. Recommend improvements to building codes and zoning

Working With You

Attend an Event

Northwest SEED provides educational events to community members to support renewable energy project development.

Have an Idea?

Got a project idea ready? We may be able to assist with your community project. Click below to see what services we offer!

Find More Resources

Northwest SEED provides publications, guidebooks and web tools that help communities pursue clean energy projects.