Zillah Oakes Inn produces own power

Plan calls for selling excess to the grid

Hot Solar Solutions place solar panels in every direction from which they can receive Sun.

Photo by Ted Escobar
Hot Solar Solutions place solar panels in every direction from which they can receive Sun.


Zillah Mayor Gary Clark, left, with Doug and Pam Lakman, says, “It’s really nice to have people in Zillah who forward-thinking.”

— Zillah Oakes Inn, under construction at the Zillah Lakes housing development, will produce its own electrical power.

According to co-owner Doug Lakman, the 36 solar panels installed on the roof Monday will likely produce enough power to sell some to the BPA power grid. He hopes to have a zero bill with Pacific power while operating the 7-unit inn.

“We get to keep more money in our pockets,” he said.

It’s Lakman’s wife Pam, the other co-owner, who is most excited. She learned about solar energy in college and hoped to some day see it in action.

“This is exciting,” she said. “It’s a relief to have it come out of your head, off of your paper and onto a building.”

The Lakmans were west siders. They became east siders when Doug left a 22-year banking career in Bellevue to develop the golf courses at Quincy and Potholes.

It was during the Potholes project that Pam first proposed solar energy. The couple did not use it there but, when they dreamed up Zillah Oakes Inn, solar came up again.

The Lakmans moved to Zillah Lakes in 2011. Doug is the manager, and the couple owns property there, enough at one site for another Inn.

The Lakmans did a full study of solar and all of the possibilities. It turned out they might be able to operate the inn with a monthly power bill of $0.00. Doug thanks “300 days of sunshine” for that.

For starters, the Lakmans will get a 30 percent tax credit on the installation cost of $40-50,000. There will be no sales tax on the panels or the installation. And over the next eight years they will receive a $2,000 rebate from Pacific Power.

The Zillah Oakes Inn will have one master suite, three 4-person units, three 2-person units and several amenities that require power.

According to Troy Woody of Hot Solar Solutions, the installer, the Zillah Oakes Inn will be hooked up to power through a regular meter.

When the sun is out, the panels will produce the power, and the meter will work in reverse, creating a credit with Pacific Power. When there is no sun, the meter will go the other way While outside power is used.

“Our plan is for the balance to be in our favor,” Doug said.

The 36 panels were installed on the sides of the roof that face the sun.

“Maybe after people see how this works, other business will go to solar,” Doug said.


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