Blue Frog helps Grow neighborhood hit 100 percent solar

Blue Frog has partnered with the innovative  Grow Community development on Bainbridge Island from the outset, so showcase solar in this forward-thinking, ultra-energy-efficient neighborhood.

With the completion of two more solar installations, every single-family home and duplex in Grow’s first phase, the Village, is now powered by photovoltaics.

PV systems numbers 22 and 23 are online and producing renewable energy, improving the neighborhood’s already stellar self-sufficiency while promising generous utility savings and financial returns for the homeowners.

Blue Frog/APS YC500 and YC250 microinverters are featured in every PV system in the neighborhood – with more solar coming in the project’s next two phases.

Read the whole story here.


Blue Frog’s module partner itek Energy feted by Gov. Inslee

Solar module producer and Blue Frog partner itek Energy of Bellingham was celebrated as a green industry leader by Washington Gov. Jay Inslee in his 2015 State of the State Address recently.

Gov. Inslee praised itek among Washington companies now developing clean energy solutions and adding skilled jobs to the state’s economy.

Green manufacturing leaders like itek are helping the state meet the challenge of carbon emissions, the governor said, as he highlighted his vision for incentives for clean technology and transportation, and investment in energy efficiency statewide.

“I’ve seen companies in Washington moving full steam ahead to seize these opportunities and create jobs,” Gov. Inslee said. “Itek in Bellingham is not only one of our state’s largest solar panel manufacturers, but produces the most powerful solar panels in the industry.”

Read the whole story here.


Buy more, save more — Blue Frog introduces tiered pricing, effective Jan. 1

It’s been a year of milestones for Blue Frog Solar.

Every month, it seems, we set a new mark in sales volume as our Blue Frog/APS microinverters are put to work in new solar installations around the region. Thank you to all of our installers for your generous business!

To share our success, we’re pleased to introduce a new tiered pricing scale to reward high-volume buyers. As your business increases, you’ll be rewarded with quarterly rebates directly from Blue Frog.

The new tiered pricing takes effect Jan. 1.

How it works:

  • Unit pricing for low-volume customers — 49 units or fewer purchased during the quarter — remains unchanged. Buy our microinverters as you need them, as your business demands.
  • Buyers who reach our new second tier — 50 or more units purchased in a quarter — will receive a 5 percent rebate at the end of the period.
  • Top-volume buyers — more than 200 units purchased in a quarter — will receive an additional 5 percent off the second-tier price.
  • The new tiered pricing affects only the microinverter units themselves; pricing of related equipment is unchanged.

It’s really this simple: Our volumes have increased dramatically as our Made In Washington Blue Frog/APS microinverters have become the standard for solar installations, leading to economies of scale in our manufacturing and supply chain.

Now we want to pass our savings on to you, our customers, and help you grow your business at the same time.

Have any questions? Call us at (206) 855-5149 and we’ll be glad to help. (And feel free to place an order while you have us on the phone.)

Thanks again for your continued business. We’re looking forward to an even bigger 2015 – for Blue Frog Solar, and for you.


Blue Frog, Greendrinks & some holiday cheer

Simple Solar is coming to town!

Blue Frog’s Simple Solar program will be featured at the upcoming Greendrinks mixer, Tuesday, Dec. 9 at Tesla Motor Works in Seattle.

The team from A&R Solar will be on hand to answer questions about Simple Solar, Blue Frog’s zero-pain, zero-down way to get the power of Made In Washington solar working for you in the new year.

We’ll also be highlighting Extend the Day, our nonprofit effort that brings solar lighting to students in Namibia, Bangladesh and other developing nations. Come find out how you can brighten the lives of families across the globe this holiday season, or see

The good cheer doesn’t stop there: The evening also marks the Seattle Good Business Network/Sustainable Seattle annual holiday fair. Pick out some locally made gifts while enjoying tasty food and beverages, music and merriment.

The event runs 5:30-9 p.m. Dec. 9 at the Tesla showroom, 435 Westlake Avenue N. in South Lake Union.

See for more information on the holiday fair, then come down and greet the season with Blue Frog Simple Solar.


Spokane community solar project shows power of WA solar tech, incentives

Plenty of sunshine, not too many trees. And a local utility membership eager to put solar power to work for their co-op.

It all added up to the right time for a community solar project, now churning out the wattage for Inland Power & Light in Spokane.

“It’s producing extremely well,” said John Francisco, chief of energy resources for Inland Power, as he monitored the output of the new 30kW solar installation outside the utility’s office.

“We were fortunate to finish construction and energize the array during the span of several cloudless days so we could get a good feel for the performance of the array.”


The ground-mount array sits in view of passing motorists on I-90, a prominent display of Washington’s solar potential.

It’s the first significant venture into solar for Inland Power, a member-owned utility serving about 39,000 residential and commercial customers in 13 counties in eastern Washington and northern Idaho. Founded in 1937, it is the largest electric cooperative in Washington.

The full cost of the system was funded by participating utility members, who were given the chance to buy shares in the system and reap the financial benefits of solar investment.

The project is also a showcase for Washington’s thriving solar manufacturing industry. The installation includes 112 photovoltaic modules by Itek Energy of Bellingham, 56 APS YC500 microinverters by Blue Frog Solar of Poulsbo, and racking by SunModo of Vancouver, Wash.

The installation was completed in late August by Brimma Solar of Vancouver, the winning bidder among three firms that vied for the project.

John Harley, Brimma Solar vice president, said the project’s impact extends far beyond the customers who will benefit from its power production.

“When a utility installs a system, it helps promote solar for their customers,” Harley said. “Customers with solar, or thinking about installing solar, feel comfort when they know their utility supports solar.”

For Washington solar manufacturers, the project is also chance to demonstrate the high quality of solar components being produced by local industry.



“We think this is exactly the sort of project our legislators hoped to encourage when they envisioned community solar,” said Tim Bailey, Blue Frog Solar co-founder. “To see locally made solar equipment in a showcase project like this is tremendous, and really shows solar’s success in Washington.”

Inland Power is the fourth Washington utility to develop an array under the community solar model, according to Phil Lou of the Washington State University Energy Program, which tracks the industry. About 30 community solar projects totaling 872 kW capacity have been developed statewide.

Those have supplemented residential and commercial solar installations in the growing industry. About 8 MW of solar capacity was installed across Washington in 2013, a 54 percent increase over the previous year.




In 2005, the Washington state Legislature enacted solar production incentives to promote the development of alternative energy sources including solar and wind.

Homeowners and businesses that install a solar system can earn a power rebate of 54 cents per kilowatt-hour of energy they put back into the grid – a “distributed generation” model – up to $5,000 per year.

The Legislature later extended the incentives to “community solar” projects, encouraging utilities and local governments to add clean energy arrays to their own production capacity. The sponsoring utility earns a state tax credit that is passed along to participating customers in the form of production incentives.

Inland Power already had about 80 customers with residential solar arrays. The utility also had a modest, 2.24 kW ground-mount array of its own that went up when it built a new office five years ago.
The opportunity to build a larger, community array on the same property made financial sense to the utility, and was met with strong support from members when it was proposed.

“We wanted to expand solar participation, and community solar was an excellent avenue due to the low entry cost to each participant and the very generous state incentive structure,” Francisco said.

With the array now up and running, members got the chance to buy in. Shares were made available to Inland Power members at $300 each, with a limit of 10 shares per member. A total of 526 shares were available.

The shares were priced high enough to keep the total number manageable by the utility, and low enough to allow participation even by customers of modest means, Francisco said.

Because of strong demand, Inland Power offered the shares to members through a lottery in October.

“We were way oversold, and the lottery was a fair approach to allocating the available shares,” Francisco said. Inland had approximately 1,300 members submit their names for the lottery, and 87 members were drawn.

Solar shareholders will receive the benefit of net metering, that is, the positive difference between their own power consumption and what their portion of the community solar system generates. They will also see a pro rata rebate from Inland Power at $1.08 per kWh hour of power produced.

“We are excited to help a broader section of our members enjoy the environmental benefits of solar power, contribute to our state economy by supporting in-state manufacturing and take advantage of the state-sponsored incentive program for community solar,” Francisco said.

Francisco said the project is already a success for Inland Power customers. If the utility is seen in the vanguard of community solar in Washington, that’s okay too.

“We’re doing this for the right reasons, but it’s nice to be recognized,” he said. “We believe in it, otherwise we wouldn’t do it.”


Large-scale commercial solar now has a microinverter solution – and Blue Frog has it.

The new YC1000 microinverter from APS is the industry’s first true 3-phase microinverter, handling 277/480 grid voltages with 900 watts maximum output, ZigBee communication and an integrated ground.

Each microinverter handles up to four PV modules – another APS first – while up to 11 units (44 modules total, 60- or 72-cell) can be linked in a single 15A circuit. And the unit is offered at a price point competitive with conventional “string” inverters.

The APS YC1000 microinverter is now available through Blue Frog. Find out more about this groundbreaking 3-phase, 4-module microinverter here, and then email tbailey [at] bluefrogsolar [dot] com for sales inquiries.



35We’re proud of the quality and reliability of our Blue Frog/APS microinverters – and just as proud of the warranty that backs them.

We want to remind our customers that our warranty is fully backed by APS corporate (not Blue Frog), giving you an extra measure of confidence in the protection that comes with every unit.

Also, remember that Blue Frog offers a 25-year extended warranty free of charge. If you happen to prefer just a 10-year warranty on your equipment, the cost is $20 less per unit.

Great microinverters and a great warranty. We think that’s a pretty good deal no matter how you look at it.

Solar Builder magazine honors Blue Frog/APS microinverter installation

Blue Frog/APS microinverters power the uber-green Grow Community, a runner-up in Solar Builder magazine’s 2014 Project of the Year awards.

Solar-Builder-POYThe roof-mount installation earns a great feature in the magazine’s new issue, on newsstands now.

“We wanted to deliver a product that both was designed to be extremely energy efficient but also had the idea of solar in mind at the time of design,” project manager Greg Lotakis tells Solar Builder. “We started at the roof, asked how many panels we could get on it, designed the roof for that, [estimated] what we expected [to] produce, and then we used that energy budget and worked backwards into the house. What we are really striving to do: deliver a really healthy, energy-efficient home that has the ability to be net zero with solar.”

It worked — at 112 kW and growing, Grow Community is already the largest planned solar community in Washington. More solar is on the way in two new neighborhoods now under development.

The installation includes 260-watt modules by itek Energy and racking by SunModo. Installer is A&R Solar of Seattle.

The project is being developed by Asani LLC, with construction by PHC.


Simple Solar at the general meeting of the Master Builders Association

Meet Blue Frog Solar at the general meeting of the Master Builders Association this Thursday, Sept. 11, at the Museum of Flight in Seattle.

Marja Preston will represent Blue Frog at the reception and tabletop trade show, 5:30-6:45 p.m. Come by and say hello, and find out more about Blue Frog’s Simple Solar program ― we’ll have literature and displays on hand. Find out what Simple Solar can do for your home or new development project.

For more information on the Master Builders Association event, see


Grow Community is a Solar Builder Magazine finalist!

vote now buttonGrow Community is one of six finalists for Solar Builder magazines’s prestigious 2014 Project of the Year award.

Grow was nominated in the Roof-Mount installation category. The annual contest honors innovative applications of solar technology in residential and commercial settings.

Grow Community, is already the largest planned solar community in Washington state. The award-winning community has been designed around the idea that homes should produce all the energy their residents would need (net-zero impact) while capturing the financial benefits that come with producing renewable energy.

The 112kW (and growing) solar component is powered by Made-In-Washington equipment including PV modules by itek Energy of Bellingham and microinverters by Blue Frog/APS of Poulsbo/Bainbridge Island. Installation is by A&R Solar of Seattle, with solar financing by Puget Sound Cooperative Credit Union.

The winning project will be featured on the cover of the next issue of Solar Builder magazine, and will be honored at a special ceremony at the Solar Power International convention in Las Vegas, Oct. 20-23.