A new campaign to encourage adoption of solar-powered energy could be coming soon to Yakima.
The City Council will consider Tuesday an agreement with Spark Northwest, a Seattle-based nonprofit that supports local efforts in Washington and Oregon to invest in solar energy.
Under the agreement, Spark Northwest would provide training and technical assistance to a volunteer committee of residents, who would ultimately choose and purchase a solar contractor through a formal public bidding process.
The group purchase would reduce the often-high upfront cost of installing residential solar systems.
The Solarize Yakima campaign would involve little, if any, out-of-pocket expenses for the city of Yakima, City Manager Cliff Moore wrote. A grant from the U.S. Department of Energy, and distributed by the Washington State Department of Commerce, would cover the cost for the campaign, estimated at between $25,000 and $30,000.
City staff would, however, need to invest a moderate amount of time to help with recruitment, promotion and reservation of meeting space for the campaign, Moore noted.
The agreement outlines the various roles and responsibilities for the agencies involved. Spark Northwest would act as the overall campaign manager.
The city would serve as the “face” of the campaign, helping recruit volunteers to promote the campaign through social media.
The solar installation company selected would manage all site evaluations, work contracts and solar system installations for residents and businesses, provide customer service, and maintain and keep current data about resident participation in the project.
The resolution notes that Solarize campaigns typically last about nine months. If the campaign is adopted, it would begin in July.