Derek White is the owner of Northwest Electric and Solar, which moved to Kenmore from Seattle in January. Aaron Kunkler/Staff Photo

Derek White is the owner of Northwest Electric and Solar, which moved to Kenmore from Seattle in January. Aaron Kunkler/Staff Photo

Kirkland native moves solar business to Kenmore

Northwest Electric and Solar is open for business in Kenmore following a move from Seattle.

Moving east has been a goal of Northwest Electric and Solar owner Derek White for a while now, and in January, he finally took the plunge.

White and around 40 employees provide electrical and solar panel installation services in the greater Seattle area, but living in Bothell and having grown up in Kirkland, White was looking for a chance to move closer to home. His new Kenmore location on 73rd Avenue Northeast just north of Northeast Bothell Way is outfitted with solar panels on the roof, which White said offset the his power costs.

“Just decided to get closer to the Eastside,” White said about the move.

White started an electrical apprenticeship around 16 years ago and has worked for large power providers such as Seattle City Light before striking out on his own. When he opened his business, he said many people in the industry weren’t paying attention to solar power. This has changed in recent years.

“People are starting to get more of an idea that this actually works,” he said.

While the perception that the Pacific Northwest can’t support solar power exists, White said he regularly zeroes out his home power bill thanks to panels installed at home. Local utilities can pay up to $5,000 annually to customers who are putting more power into the local grid than they consume.

A lack of sun during dark northwest winters is often offset by lots of sunshine the rest of the year. Large solar farms have been proposed in Thurston County by TransAlta and in eastern Washington near Lind by Strata Solar.

White said interest from residents and small businesses have been picking up in recent years. The average cost for a basic solar setup runs around $15,000, which usually pays for itself after four to seven years.

Washington state residents also benefit from recovery cost incentives, sales tax exemptions and other kickbacks approved by the state legislature and federal government to help promote solar use.

Emerging technology can also be useful to residents, White said. On top of general electrical work and installing solar panels, the business is certified to install Tesla batteries, which store enough power to rival generators as backup options.

“Things have been getting more efficient over the years,” White said.

One such battery hangs on the wall of his office’s common area in a sleek white casing.

Northwest Electric and Solar additionally installs around 25 electric car charges each week and offers free charging onsite. Two cars were parked and charging outside the business on a recent afternoon.

“It’s a fun industry to be in,” White said.

Northwest Electric and Solar is located at 18001 73rd Avenue Northeast in Kenmore.

More in Business

Networking to recession proof your career

Make a networking plan for yourself. You don’t have do it all in one day.

Boeing Renton plant to halt 737 Max production

Suspension expected to begin in January

Decreased inventory for buyers in local real estate market

By Erin Flemming Special to the Reporter The month of December reliably… Continue reading

Business alliance serves women of African diaspora in King County

Nourah Yonous launched the African Women Business Alliance in 2017 to find ways to lift women up.

New recycling service hits the Kirkland market

Ridwell is a recycle service that for $10-14 a month will pick up difficult-to-recycle goods.

Adding credentials can recession proof your career

Look at hard skills and soft skills to see where there may be a gap.

Chiropractic instrument takes the crack out of spinal adjustment

Disc Centers of America Bellevue uses the Impulse iQ for comfort and results

Winter chill begins to settle into real estate market

While there was an uptick in new listings, pending home sales and sold properties the last two months, things are quieting down.

Armoire opens second location in Kirkland. Armoire is a start-up company that is based in Seattle and has branched out to the Eastside. Unlike most retail stores, Armoire rents their clothing to their customers through a membership. Photo courtesy of Armoire
Armoire opens second location in Kirkland

Retail stores are adapting to modern working women and their needs.

Anko opens doors at new Kirkland location

The retail chain can also be found in Lynnwood, Bellevue, Mill Creek and Burien.

PupPod owner Erick Eidus won the crowd favorite award and received $500 from the Greater Kirkland Chamber of Commerce during last year’s Kirkland Investor Sharks. Aaron Kunkler/staff photo
Investor Shark continues with the tradition to help fund Kirkland startups

The event will also feature a teen startup team from LWSD.