As part of the Beacon Mountain project, three "Solar Shelters" will go online and begin creating energy on Wednesday at Jefferson Park.
Though the idea of having picnic shelters was always part of the project, funding wasn't in place until Seattle Parks and Seattle City Light worked together to use a portion of funds from the Solar America Cities program from the U.S. Department of Energy to start the Community Solar program, which allows private rate-payers to invest in solar power on public lands within the City.
The program provides a low-cost way for the City to demonstrate their desire to find and use more sustainable sources of power and significantly lowers the barrier for private residents and businesses to "go solar," which normally costs around $15,000 per household. Between now and 2020, the ratepayers who invested in the program should expect to get much of their initial capital investment returned to them through rebates on their electrical bills equal to the energy production at the solar shelter. After 2020, the energy from the shelters becomes part of the diversified portfolio of energy sources for the City.