Solar expansion atop High Point Neighborhood Center

When we went by 10-month-old High Point Neighborhood Center this afternoon for a look at the work A&R Solar has done to expand the solar array atop the building, we should have realized it couldn’t be seen without going up on the roof. We’re not much for climbing, but luckily Dave Kozin from A&R agreed to take our camera up and get a few photos. He says they just finished installing the expansion – 128 more solar panels, added to the original 256 panels – and will be working on wiring tomorrow; then it should be turned on by the weekend. The solar array atop High Point Neighborhood Center already was one of the largest in the region; they are new to the project – a different company installed phase 1.

A&R Solar is based in Seattle and notes in the announcement of the project:

This system is currently one of the state’s largest solar projects with 48.6 kilowatts (kW) of capacity. The additional 128-panel installation from A&R Solar will increase the community center’s solar energy output to 73.6 kW. … With help from Sally Knodell at Environmental Works, as well as engineering support from Glumac (electrical) and Swenson Say Faget (structural), A&R Solar began installation of the additional 128 solar panels on Monday, August 23, 2010, and is scheduled complete the project by Friday, September 10. Many thanks are in order for the City of Seattle’s Department of Planning and Development, who helped streamline the permitting process, and to the City of Seattle for providing most of the funding for the project.

A&R Solar says it’s also working on a system at Walla Walla Community College with almost as much capacity as High Point – 72 kilowatts. HP Neighborhood Center, meantime, has other energy-saving features beyond the social array – we detailed some of them during a hard-hat tour last year.

9 Replies to "Solar expansion atop High Point Neighborhood Center"

  • nmb September 9, 2010 (4:49 pm)

    Funny that you should note that the new solar array will be “turned on” by the weekend. I don’t think there’s an on/off switch on solar panels (that’s the sun’s job).

    • WSB September 9, 2010 (4:51 pm)

      That’s exactly how the project manager described it to us at the scene. He may have used the term “switch on.” As in, connected to the rest of the system. Yes of course, whether it actually produces power, depends on solar conditions.

  • Baba September 9, 2010 (5:14 pm)

    48.6 kilowatts (kW) – that is impressive!!! Was AL GORE invited?

  • HunterG September 9, 2010 (8:21 pm)

    I think this is super GREAT! Teach everyone else in Seattle a much needed lesson – lets be one of the first cities off the grid!

    (Hey, there’s nothin’ wrong with dreaming!)

  • Alex September 9, 2010 (8:26 pm)

    I seem to be hearing more and more about A&R Solar. Didn’t they install the array on the Seattle Aquarium? I love that all of these projects are using local businesses.

  • Dave September 10, 2010 (7:48 am)

    Great. How much taxpayer money was wasted on this, again? Recovery Summer.

  • Richard Cranium September 10, 2010 (11:52 am)

    What a waste of money!! Solar panels in a city where the sun shines (best hypothesis) 43%

    Why not spend the money on a Bloom Box? Solar panels are only efficient in cities like Phoenix, Vegas, LA; you know, sunny areas. And these solar panels aren’t cheap. Not even close. I work in engineering and LEED engineers all know solar powered building in Seattle area are a joke.

    Smart move whomever thought this up!!

  • Dave September 14, 2010 (9:52 am)

    Gotta love those ill-advised solar haters! Seattle gets more sun than Germany, which happens to be the world leader in solar installations. While not a “sunny area”, our long, cool, and sunny summer days are optimal for solar energy harvest. Plus solar panels produce electricity even on cloudy days.

    @Richard, not sure what you do in engineering, but certainly not all LEED engineers “know” solar powered buildings are a joke. Would love to hear another way for a building to produce its own power besides buying a $700-800k Bloom Box or putting up a loud, ugly wind turbine.

  • Reeves September 14, 2010 (10:21 am)

    @Dave: We actually added an addition 4 guys to our crew for this project at prevailing wage rates. So yeah, I’d say recovery summer indeed.

    @Dick Cranium: During the summer the building will offset 100% of their electricity usage. Is that not efficient enough for you? We get 30% more sun than Germany does and they have more solar installed than anyone else in the world. As of this week 50% of their electricity is generated by solar (more than their 17 nuke plants.) I fail to see how solar doesn’t work here. And the Bloom Box? It runs on natural gas.

    Reeves Clippard – Co-founder of A&R Solar.

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