Madrona Grove Fruit Stand Opens Tues, Jun 26

Residents on the Steamboat Peninsula have long supported the efforts of Michael Manos and Jeannine Anderson and have benefited from having their Madrona Grove Fruit Truck in our area. This Tuesday marks the start of a new season of produce availability from Jeannine and Michael.

The Madrona Grove Fruit Stand is located at the Building Earth Farm, 9140 Steamboat Island Road NW.

The Madrona Grove Fruit Stand is at Building Earth Farm two days a week, Tuesday and Friday,  from Noon to 7pm.

They will operate until the end of September.

Look for Madrona Grove at the Shelton Farmer’s Market on Satudays from 9am – 3pm.

For more information regarding either the Building Earth Farm or the Madrona Grove Fruit Stand, see the web site they jointly operate at

For information about goings on in our neighborhood, visit us on our Facebook Page. 

Homeowners Meet to Learn Details Behind “Solarize Thurston”

Residents of the Griffin Area met Monday evening at the Griffin Fire Department Headquarters to learn about the “Solarize Thurston” project and to meet representatives of the installer selected for the project, South Sound Solar.

The Solarize Thurston project is a way for residents to install solar equipment on their homes faster and less expensively than normal. A selected solar installer makes a small variety of solar equipment available at special prices, then adds a free site assessment and attractive purchase terms. Also, low interest loans are being made available from the local Generations Credit Union and Obee Credit Union.

Those in attendance heard a description of the financial incentives currently in place. These incentives, described in greater detail in an article published in April (click here) include:

  • Washington State sales tax exemption
  • 30% Federal tax credit
  • Washington state production incentive
  • Net metering

Why is now a particularly good time to install solar? For one thing, some of the financial incentives are set to expire. The sales tax exemption expires June 30, 2013. The Federal tax credit expires at the end of Tax Year 2016. The production incentive expires June 30, 2020. It’s worth noting the sales tax exemption and Federal tax credit help with the initial purchase. The production incentive, though, pays year in and year out, until it expires. The earlier your system is up and running, the longer you’ll receive that production incentive.

Your local Solarize Thurston team evaluated responses to a Request for Proposal in which installers were asked to propose prices for specific modules (the solar panels) and inverters. These installers needed to provide Washington-built as well as equipment manufactured outside the state. South Sound Solar responded with a superior array of equipment choices. Here are the solar packages proposed by South Sound Solar:

Specific base prices were negotiated for each equipment package. To see these prices, all you need to do is click here to register online. Those who register are under no obligation to proceed further with the program. Homeowners who register will not pay anything until they decide to contract with South Sound Solar to install equipment on their home.

A system of about 3 – 5 kw in size is a typical system. What factors would increase or decrease the price over that for this “base” system?

A “starter system” – that is, a system of about 2 kw or smaller – would be priced at $1 per watt higher. This makes sense if you consider that certain wiring and other basic work must be done, no matter what the system’s size. There’s a certain size below which price-per-watt cannot cover the cost of the electrical work required.

Large residential systems – those 6 – 10 kw in size – would enjoy a $0.50 per watt reduction in price. It’s the opposite of the small system restriction; the basic electrical system infrastructure can accommodate systems of greater size and the price doesn’t increase as fast, as the size of the system increases.

Systems specifically designed to be expanded and systems that require electrical panel upgrades would incur additional charges.

Steep roofs, metal roofs, ground mounted systems, and building more complicated support structures would likely increase the cost.

The pricing proposal participants in the Solarize Thurston project receive will detail the pricing for their custom system, plus estimates of the actual incentives the system is qualified to receive and the years to payback. South Sound Solar is offering attractive payment terms, starting with $1000 due at signing. The balance on the materials (about 60% of the total cost) is due before installation commences. These payments will be customized to meet suppliers’ and customer’s needs. The remainder of the installation costs are due on completion of project installation, inspection, and PSE meter installation.

South Sound Solar is a full service installer. This is why they are offering a 10% discount for solar hot water systems installed with PV. And, they can offer battery back-up grid tied systems, for homeowners looking for something more than the grid tied systems expected to comprise most of the Solarize Thurston installations.

To participate in the Solarize Thurston project, interested homeowners simply register with the Solarize Thurston project. The easiest way to register is online. Ready to register? Just click this link and identify yourself as being in the “Westside Group” (in the blank for “Community Group or Neighborhood Name”). You will be contacted by a representative of South Sound Solar, who will answer questions you may have and will ask you a few questions regarding your solar installation goals. You can schedule a no obligation site evaluation, while you’re on the phone call. An evaluator from South Sound Solar will look up your property, on Google Earth and then will come to your home to take measurements and to discuss with you possible options for siting your solar installation.

In consultation with you, South Sound Solar will design a custom installation to meet your desires and your site. A comprehensive proposal, including the costs, the impact of financial incentives, and a likely payback period will be presented to you.

Special low-interest financing is currently available to participants in the Solarize Thurston program, through OBee and Generations credit unions. Through these credit unions, you can install solar on your home at only 3%.

Registration in the Solarize Thurston program will close Friday, July 13. Click here to read all our articles on the Solarize Thurston program and visit the program’s web site at  We think you’ll agree, if you’ve ever thought of installing solar on your home, this is a great time to take the next step. Register and receive an evaluation of your site.

Learn How You Can Save Thousands in the Installation of Solar Equipment

Flyer sent home with
Griffin students

Homeowners who choose to install solar equipment on their homes will save many thousands of dollars, this year. Electrical production incentives and net metering will return benefits for years to come. Plus, homeowners will see an immediate return in the form of increased value of the home.

Learn more at this informative, no obligation meeting:
Monday, June 18
7 PM
Griffin Fire Department Headquarters

Are you interested, but cannot attend Monday’s meeting? Find instructions at the bottom of this article about how to register online.

Current State and Federal incentives go a long way to make solar affordable.

  • Washington State sales tax exemption
  • 30% Federal tax credit
  • Washington state production incentive
  • Net metering

Click here to read our prior article, which outlines these financial incentives.

Through a program called “Solarize Thurston“, homeowners in the Steamboat area enjoy additional benefits. Among these are group pricing, a free comprehensive site assessment, access to low interest loans, and clear, upfront pricing from a local recognized solar equipment installer. Because of advance work already being completed by organizers of this project, homeowners will not only save money but also many months of research and planning.

Your local “Solarize Thurston” team has reviewed the responses received from solar installers to the Solarize Thurston RFP. We have chosen an installer for homeowners in our area and over in the Cooper Point neighborhood. We’re really excited about what we have to show to our neighbors interested in installing solar on their homes.

This local, highly-praised installer will be offering a range of solar panels (modules) and inverters suitable for a variety of applications and in a range of price points. Incredibly, this installer will be offering installations as low as about $4 per watt. On the top end of the price range we will be offering a super, Washington-built module and inverter package from Silicon Energy. This package provides homeowners with the best financial incentives, including a production incentive paid by PSE of $0.54 per kWH, to a maximum of $5000 per year, through June 2020.

For more details about all the incentives, please see the piece we published back in April online at

Plus, our installer is offering great purchase terms. And there’s some great financing being made available just for this program through a local credit union.

Homeowners will learn they can get back nearly half the cost of their solar installation in the first year of operation. How can that be? In this current tax year, there’s a 30% tax credit. That’s a tax credit, not a tax deduction. A tax credit lowers your tax bill dollar for dollar. Then there’s the net metering and that production incentive. Did we forget to mention no state sales tax on the equipment?

How’s this all work? We’ll ask interested homeowners to “register” into the program. There’s no obligation incurred, for registering; there are only benefits to be gained. First and foremost, registration gets a free, comprehensive site assessment (these normally can cost nearly $100) by our installer. This will provide the homeowner with data regarding placement and design decisions that would need to be made to move forward. Again, there’s no obligation to buy at thing. Still interested? The homeowner and installer design a custom equipment and installation package and negotiate a price. And we’ve set a great starting point for price negotiations. The homeowner can then choose to sign a contract and, if the contract is signed, the installation moves forward.

Homeowners participating in this project could easily have solar installed before the summer ends.

Join us Monday evening, June 18, to learn more. In the meantime, go online at for more information.

Would you like to register for this opportunity, but cannot make it to Monday night’s meeting? Click this link and identify yourself as being in the “Westside Group” (in the blank for “Community Group or Neighborhood Name”). Remember, there’s no obligation for registration, but you cannot receive a no-cost, comprehensive site assessment without registering.

“Shellfish in Your Front Yard” – Free Workshop July 21st

Register now for this free workshop.

Shellfish in Your Front Yard
July 21, 2012, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Griffin Fire Department Headquarters
3707 Steamboat Loop N.W., Olympia.

Attend this Washington Sea Grant workshop and learn about identifying, cultivating and safely harvesting shellfish on your beach.

Participants will learn about the biology of bivalve shellfish, which shellfish grow best on their beach type, and various methods for enhancing tidelands with clams, oysters and mussels. The workshop will also focus on ways to protect water quality so that harvested shellfish will be safe to eat.

Workshop instructors include local shellfish farmers and Washington Sea Grant staff. The workshop will feature classroom and on-the-beach activities.

Bring a sack lunch and your mud boots!

Space is limited, so pre-registration is required. To register or for more information, contact Janis McNeal, Washington Sea Grant, at or (360) 432-3054.

Click here to download a PDF flyer of this event.