POULSBO — The journey to Hall & Company’s solar panels begins in the men’s bathroom, where a ladder leads to the roof. Only visible from a few locations, Hall & Company’s 56 solar panels create a 750 square-foot, sunshine-capturing array. The desire to install the panels, which will generate 10 percent of the building’s power, was supported by a recently finalized Renewable Energy Production Incentive Program.
“Was it just the incentives?” President Mike Hall said. “Not just but without them, of course, it wouldn’t be a project.”
On March 25 Gov. Chris Gregoire finalized the 2005 Renewable Energy Production Incentive Program. The incentive program is intended to give businesses, public entities and homeowners motivation to switch to renewable energy. The incentive pays users 12 to 54 cents per kilowatt-hour generated from solar power, wind power or anaerobic digesters. The incentive program caps at $5,000 a year and will remain active until June 30, 2020.
Hall & Company, a commercial insurance company located at 19660 10th Ave NE in Poulsbo, became eligible for the maximum 54 cents per kilowatt-hour because it uses an inverter and solar panels produced in Washington. A battery-free inverter was not previously available in Washington. The company received help getting its project going through Washington Solar Incentives, a new Poulsbo-based business.
“They’re the contractor that not only arranged for the permits, but purchases the components and assembles the panels and helps fill out the applications,” Hall said. “So, very full-service.”
Washington Solar Incentives has only been operational since February but has successfullys completed Hall & Company’s solar project and a residential home in Port Ludlow.
The company works with Rick Lander, a 17-year licensed contractor, to offer a full array of services, Lander said.
“I feel very grateful,” he said. “It’s important and it’s easy to get that excited about.”
With the solar panels and incentives in place, Hall & Company is looking forward to the return on their investment. The solar array cost $83,000, which the company funded with its savings. The incentive includes a 30 percent return on the costs within 60 days of the panels becoming operational in addition to the $5,000 awarded annually. Hall predicts the project will pay for itself within four or five years. He will be able to track on his computer the number of kilowatt generated daily by the array.
“So instead of playing sudoku,” Hall said, “I can watch our energy being created.”