Coming to Seattle: Picnic shelters with solar panels

A rendering of the new solar-powered picnic shelters on Beacon Hill

OK, you can insert whatever Seattle rain joke that you’d like on this one. But during a week that the rains just never have seemed to let up, here’s a reminder that the bright, yellow orb in the sky does make an appearance once in a while here in the soggy Northwest.

Seattle City Light next week plans to unveil the utility’s very first community-oriented solar project, three picnic shelters at Jefferson Park in Seattle’s Beacon Hill neighborhood.

The community solar project was developed with the help of a $300,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Energy, and it marks the first of its kind from Seattle City Light. Hundreds of community members have agreed to buy power from the energy generated by the shelters, a project that MyNorthwest.com said was akin to buying plots in a community garden. (The product here just happens to be electricity, not eggplant).

“Using a creative design, the translucent solar panels form the roofs of three new picnic shelters at Jefferson Park in Beacon Hill,” according to a media advisory announcing the new shelters.

On March 21, city leaders and community members will gather to commemorate the opening of the shelters, which just so happens to be the first day of Spring.

I checked the weather forecast for next Wednesday, and it’s not looking too good. Expect showers and a high of 45 degrees. Is anyone else around here desperate for real picnic weather?

A ceremony kicking off the new installation will take place at 10 a.m. on March 21 at 3801 Beacon Ave S, near the Community Center and skatepark.

According to the report on MyNorthwest.com, the new shelters will “generate enough electricity to power three homes for a year or brew about 146,000 pots of coffee.”

More details on how the program works here.

  • Kat Hoppe

    Architecture and engineering by Nic Rossouw of giraf design. Solar components from Silicon Energy.