Home solar-power systems contractor recommendations from PSE

Puget Sound Energy is now providing contractor referrals to residential electric customers interested in having a solar-electric photovoltaic (PV) system installed on their home.

PSE recently added 14 solar installers from around the utility’s electric service area to its Contractor Alliance Network (formally the Contractor Referral Service), a group of independent contractors prescreened by the utility to perform energy-related home improvement projects that can help customers save energy and money.

“We are thrilled to be a part of PSE’s Contractor Alliance Network. Many people look to their utility for recommendations about how to manage their energy use,” said Pamela Burton of Puget Sound Solar, LLC. “With PSE’s Energy Advisors’ educating customers on the viability of solar in the Pacific Northwest, we have the cheerleaders we need to increase adoption of customer owned solar-power systems.”

Customers interested in installing a solar-power system and in need of a contractor can receive estimates from two contractors when they request a referral at or by calling a PSE Energy Advisor at 1-800-562-1482. Customers may set up an appointment with a contractor to visit customers’ homes and provide estimates on installing solar systems.

“PSE is a trusted source and it is hugely valuable for the community to see PSE getting behind solar here in the Northwest,” said Dana Brandt of Ecotech Energy Systems LLC. “Understanding that solar works here is the single greatest barrier to widespread adoption of solar energy in the Northwest; PSE including solar in its Contractor Alliance Network is an important step in educating our community that it’s viable here.”

In addition to installing customers home solar-power system, PSE referred contractors can help customers prepare interconnection and production payment documents necessary to participate in PSE’s net metering program.

Currently, more than 1,000 PSE electric customers have had solar-power systems installed and connected to the utility’s grid – up from just over 500 solar-power systems in early 2010. The total generating capacity from these customer-owned solar-power systems is more than 5 megawatts (MW), compared to 2 MW in early 2010.

There are various financial incentives currently available to help customers to pay for residential or commercial solar installations, one of which is a 30 percent federal tax credit.

The State of Washington provides an incentive, administered by PSE under its Renewable Energy Advantage Program. The state incentive pays customers for every kilowatt of power produced by solar-power systems. The payments are based on a sliding scale that rewards customers for buying Washington-made components. The incentive payments range between 15 cents and 54 cents per kilowatt-hour (kWh), depending on the system’s amount of made-in-Washington equipment.

PSE’s net metering incentive, separate from the cash payments administered on behalf of the state, allows customers to amass bankable credits for any electricity they produce in excess of the electricity they consume. When electricity usage exceeds renewable-energy production, as it does during the winter months, the customer can draw on those credits to help offset their cost of electricity.

Participants of the Contactor Alliance Network are all prescreened, certified independent contractors. Member contractors have a thorough understanding of energy codes and a commitment to energy-saving equipment and product applications to help customers use less energy and save money. Contractors also abide by fair business practices under the Better Business Bureau and the Department of Labor and Industries; are licensed, insured and bonded; and receive on-going training of the latest technologies and methods.

In addition to solar installers customers can get contractor referrals for energy-efficient home upgrades including heating and cooling systems, water heating, insulation, windows and generators.

To learn more about PSE’s Contractor Alliance Network visit or call a PSE Energy Advisor at 1-800-562-1482, Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

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