group of "Solar Superheroes" descended upon the steep-pitched roof of the new KidsQuest Children's Museum in downtown Bellevue to install a free photovoltaic solar array, a collection of solar panels arranged on a rooftop and wired together to generate electricity, donated by the Solarize Bellevue program contractor A&R Solar. Stunned citizens watched in amazement as solar superheroes performed the super-install.
"The Board of Directors and staff at KidsQuest Children's Museum are grateful for the generous donation from A&R Solar in support of the Solarize Bellevue program," said KidsQuest board member Pete Miller. "Generating electricity on the roof of our new building will help us reduce operating expenses, allowing us to spend more of our revenue on excellent programming for children. We are also excited to incorporate this feature into our educational programming on renewable energy."
Solarize Bellevue is a neighborhood solar purchasing program co-sponsored by the city of Bellevue and the Pacific Northwest Pollution Prevention Resource Center. The campaign provides homeowners and businesses with reduced cost, headache-free solar installations on their homes, businesses or multifamily units. The campaign is in its second year with last year netting an impressive 300 workshop participants that resulted in 50 new residential arrays and one free donation to the Bellevue Boys and Girls Club Teen Center.
"We've had an overwhelming response to this year's Solarize Bellevue program," said Paul Andersson, Environmental Stewardship Initiative program administrator for the city of Bellevue. "So far 150 interested residents have registered to attend our workshops and 13 new arrays already are under contract. With so many federal and state incentives, the dropping price of solar and the heightened awareness about the positive environmental impacts of clean energy production, the time to go solar has really never been better."
This year's donated system is a 4.8 kW capacity system using 16 SolarWorld panels manufactured in the Oregon. The system is valued at $25,030 and includes a web-based monitoring system that shows how much energy each solar panel is producing at any given moment. KidsQuest was determined to be the best possible recipient of the donation due to their ability to use the array to educate youth. They were also the runner up in last years application and community vote process (in which the Boys and Girls Club prevailed).
There's still time to participate in Solarize Bellevue! Interested residents are encouraged to attend one of the following remaining workshops:
- Tuesday, Sept. 1, 6-8 p.m., Northwest Arts Center, 9825 NE 24th St.
- Tuesday, Sept. 24, 6:30-8:30 p.m., Highland Community Center, 14224 Bel-Red Rd.