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Woodland Park Zoo, the Phinney Neighborhood Association (PNA) and Seattle City Light are partnering on Community Solar on Phinney Ridge, a new community solar project going live summer 2014. The project will produce approximately 75 kilowatts of energy from solar panels installed on building roofs at the zoo and PNA, making it the largest community solar project in Washington state. City Light customers will be able to participate in the program by purchasing energy from the solar-modules and will then receive annual credits for the amount of energy generated by their units. Customer investment will end in July 2020 when ownership of the solar panels is transferred to the zoo and PNA.


UPDATE: Units are now sold out!

All solar units for this project have now been sold. Solar units were available through Seattle City Light at $150 per unit, representing a 28 watt piece of the community system. 

Solar at the Zoo

As part of the Community Solar project, new solar panels will be installed on the roofs of the zoo’s Rain Forest Food Pavilion and the Commissary building, generating about 16kW and 44kW of solar power, respectively.


(Left: Panels will be installed on the pavilion’s south-facing roof; right: Rendering of the Commissary building after panels have been installed)

Solar energy isn’t new for the zoo—in 2011, solar panels were installed on our Historic Carousel, providing enough renewable energy to power the carousel all year long. That’s 100,000 rides worth of power! Even our parking meters feature small solar panels.

This community project marks an exciting next step towards the zoo’s sustainability goal to reduce carbon use by 20 percent from 1990 levels by 2020. What makes it extra special is that you get to join us in it! Together with our community, this project brings us closer to meeting our ambitious yet attainable, mission-driven goal for a more sustainable future.

To learn more about the project, browse the following FAQs or visit Seattle City Light’s Community Solar webpage. 

Want to Get Involved? Learn More


What is Community Solar and how does it work?

Community Solar is a Seattle City Light-sponsored program that has already built two successful solar arrays in public spaces (Seattle Aquarium and Jefferson Park). Next up: new solar panels on building roofs at Woodland Park Zoo and the Phinney Neighborhood Association.

Upfront costs to build the arrays at the host sites are funded by Seattle City Light. Once installation is complete, City Light customers will be able to purchase energy (in units) from a portion of the city-owned solar modules, and will then receive annual incentives from the city and state. Community Solar offers customers the opportunity to support renewable energy without incurring installation costs and the challenge of finding the perfect location at their homes.

Customers will receive an annual credit through July 2020, when ownership of the solar systems will transfer to the host sites.

Why should I purchase units?

How much are units?

What happens in 2020?

How do I learn more about the city’s solar projects?