Seattle, Solar and ADUs

by Anders Alexander
Additional Dwelling Units, Seattle residents love them, but some don’t. The Seattleites that do love ADUs are the ones with the yard space for them and want to rent them out for extra income. Solar can be a great feature for an ADU, but it does need to be planned for.

From the roof type to the vegetation around the ADU, to the electrical panel, the new building needs to be designed with solar in mind. The right time to contact a solar installation company is during that design phase with the builder or architect. Depending on several factors it is normally at least a month after signing up with the solar company until they are available to install the system. You can contact a solar company too late, but you can’t contact them too early.

Small buildings or home additions meant to be rented out might actually use a lot of energy, especially if you heat the space electrically. Solar can take care of a portion of the electric usage, but there probably won’t be enough space on the roof to cover all the extra electric usage. With good planning though an efficient building can be completed with low electric needs.

Being completely off-grid on these units can be cool if they are built and used appropriately, especially if the electric usage is really limited. But, being grid connected is still going to be the cheapest and easiest way to power the new unit. Batteries are still at least $10,000 for a good sizable unit, and being grid connected can only take a couple hundred to a couple thousand dollars to set up. 

If the electric needs are as small as lights and small electronics then camping versions of solar plus batteries setups can be found for $400-$2,000.
Contact Bloom Solar to review your ADU plans to see if solar is an intelligent addition to the project.