Seattle Community Solar


Despite a reputation for rain, Seattle is a great place for solar energy – and Northwest SEED has partnered with Seattle City Light to make solar energy more accessible and affordable than ever! Together, we designed and deployed an award-winning Community Solar program. The first installation, three solar picnic shelters at Seattle’s Jefferson Park, enrolled over 450 residents, demonstrating Seattle’s strong support for harvesting the sun. The second installation, on the roof of the Seattle Aquarium, was even more popular! At $150 apiece, each solar unit is sized to return at least $150 to the customer over the life of the program. The third project at Phinney Neighborhood Association and the Woodland Park Zoo fully enrolled in the summer of 2014. They are now enrolling their fourth project at Holiday Apartments in the Capitol Hill Eco-District. Seattle City Light’s Community Solar program exemplifies how a large municipal utility, with some of the lowest customer rates in the nation, can develop a program that increases customer engagement and access to solar. In fact, the program won a 2012 Innovation award from the Interstate Renewable Energy Council, and new programs using the City Light model are springing up across the nation. Congratulations, Seattle City Light!

Why Community (Shared) Solar?

Sun for Everyone! Even if you live in the shade, or rent your home, you can contribute to an installation in the sun! One of the main advantages is lower costs: You don’t have to buy a whole system at once; you can go solar in bite-sized purchases. For more examples of Community Solar projects, see the “Guide to Community Solar” that Northwest SEED authored for the National Renewable Energy Laboratory on our Publications page.

What Are the Other Benefits?

Participants receive electric bill credits for the power produced by their “share” of a system as well as the Washington State Production Incentive for Community Solar systems. Participants reap these benefits, while knowing that they are supporting clean, local solar power and highly visible community installations!

How Can I Get Involved in Community Solar?

Northwest SEED continues to provide program assistance to Seattle City Light and other utilities seeking to develop Community (or shared) Solar Programs. To learn more, read about our offerings.

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.