1618 E Calhoun St
Seattle City Light
· 4.2 kilowatts DC peak capacity
· (20) Sharp 208W modules
· Fronius 4500W 208VAC
· Seattle City Light
· Seattle Parks and Recreation Department
Solar Project - Montlake Community Center
"Form and function" were the bywords when the Seattle Parks and Recreation Department (SPR) planned to expand the Montlake Community Center in 2005.
Inspired by a previous partnership with Seattle City Light on renewable energy, SPR "went solar" as it planned its new gym space. Adding solar panels to the roof also created an opportunity to add a special design touch to the interior. In order to maximize the performance of the solar photovoltaic (PV) panels, they would either have to "tilt up" off the roof, or the building's roof line would need to pitch up more sharply than usual. The architects choose to pitch the roof, and the natural byproduct was a high open ceiling and a full-length floor to ceiling window.
"Adjusting the pitch of the roof upward to maximize the effectiveness of the PV panels created a dramatic window wall on the North end of the building. This opportunity enhanced the view from the room showcasing the park, trees and the Montlake Cut making this room a favorite rental for community functions," said Dan Johnson, a facilities manager with the Seattle Parks Department who helped champion the project.
Planners also decided to put the inverter (which converts the DC electricity generated by the panels into AC electricity required by the building and grid) in the lobby, along with a sign explaining how the solar panels work and a meter showing exactly how much electricity is being generated at any time. This decision brought the project indoors and helps educate the public on what is happening up on the roof.