North County Outlook - Community newspaper serving Marysville, Arlington, Tulalip, Smokey Point, Lakewood

Solar tour provides information, advice

Learn more about how solar works in western Washington during a countywide tour of homes and businesses that have embraced the technology.


If you’ve been thinking about solar alternatives for your home or business, the Snohomish County Solar Tour 2013, set for Saturday, Sept. 21, offers an opportunity to find out more about the benefits and challenges.

The daylong tour is part of the American Solar Energy Society's national solar tour. Folks in Western Washington are invited to attend kickoff events and self-guided tours of homes and businesses to find out how solar works in western Washington State.

A variety of homes and businesses around Snohomish County are available for tours on that day only. Owners will demonstrate the latest technologies available in solar and green energy solutions in practical applications.

“You can find out why they decided to go solar, how they chose their system, why they chose their particular system, if their site had any challenges to overcome, what their installation experience was like and how their system is performing now,” said Joan Tilton of Arlington Electric, one of the tour sponsors.

Begin the solar tour by visiting two local solar manufacturing companies, Silicon Energy and Outback Power Technologies.

OutBack Power Technologies, located at 1782-59th Avenue NE, Arlington, will be open for visitors from 9 to 11 a.m., providing tours of the company’s new engineering and training facility.

Learn about OutBack’s certified battery-based inverters for both off-grid and grid-tie applications. Outback inverters are the only certified Made in Washington inverters that provide power from solar photovoltaic (PV) panels during a utility outage.

From 10 a.m. to 12 noon, Silicon Energy, located at 33506-124th Street NE, Marysville, opens its doors for guided tours of their factory. Founded in 2007, Silicon Energy delivers the highest quality and most durable photovoltaic (PV) modules on the market today, backed by one of the best warranties in the world. The company's philosophy of supporting the local and U.S. economy and its commitment to creating long-lasting, aesthetically pleasing PV allows customers to be confident that while they are reducing their carbon footprint they are also contributing to their local economy.

Arlington Electric dba Arlington Energy co-hosts the tour, along with Fire Mountain Solar in Mount Vernon, for the purpose of supporting the solar industry in Washington. Personnel from both companies are available at various sites and at each of the kickoff events to answer questions about design and installation, and to provide information about federal and state incentives that are available for going solar. Both companies are registered solar design installers for the Snohomish County PUD Solar Express as well as PSE, Seattle City Light and other utilities.

“Solar works in Western Washington,” said Tilton. “With an average sunlight of 3.78 hours per day, Western Washington is comparable to Germany, where solar is everywhere and works for them. A grid tie solar system can pay for itself in as little as 5 or 6 years. Solar systems continue to work with very little maintenance and generate income far into the future.”


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