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BIAW headquarters goes solar

February 6, 2023

In early January, BIAW took advantage of its well-exposed roof to add nearly 180 solar panels to the top of its Parkside Building. The association expects the solar upgrade to replace 14 percent of the electricity used in the building with clean, renewable energy.

The initial cost of the project is roughly $170,000. However, in August 2022, Congress increased the Solar Investment Tax Credit (ITC) from 26 percent to 30 percent, which will afford BIAW a $51,000 tax credit. Additionally, the estimated accelerated depreciation savings of the new system are around $26,000, bringing the project’s net cost to approximately $93,000. In total, the initial costs should be recovered in about 13 years.

Assuming a 5 percent utility escalation rate, the energy savings will start at about $5,000 per year, eventually growing to around $14,000 per year. If energy prices rise at a faster rate, BIAW will recoup costs sooner.

Support for energy choices

Aside from the energy savings, BIAW’s solar project also provides environmental benefits equivalent to planting 144,109 trees in a year.

“BIAW continues its work to create a thriving association that makes positive contributions to our industry and our community, supported by sound financial decisions,” said BIAW Managing Director of Operations Steve Hyer.

“Choosing to add solar to our energy mix is consistent with our public policy position to support energy choice,” Hyer said. “Like the builders we represent, we are choosing energy sources that make sense both in efficiency and from an economic perspective. All consumers deserve to have these choices to make.”

The panels selected for the project are the highest-efficiency solar panel made in the U.S., offering up to 21.4 percent module efficiency. BIAW’s new system is guaranteed to generate 68,780 kWh annually.

Doing business with members

Because BIAW knows members do business with members, the association contracted with Olympia Master Builders (OMB) and BIAW member South Sound Solar, Inc., based in Olympia. South Sound Solar, Inc.’s founder and president, Kirk Haffner, also sits on OMB’s board as a builder director.

South Sound Solar, Inc., incorporated in 2008, specializes in commercial and residential solar engineering, design and installation. The company has since installed thousands of systems, including those for Tenino High School, Centralia Community College, Olympia City Hall and Library, Thurston County Food Bank, Olympia Federal Savings, Batdorf and Bronson Coffee Roasters and many others.

To learn more about South Sound Solar, Inc., visit

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