Community Solar - A Project I Am Proud To Be A Part Of

The sun is shining outside so I can happily play frisbee, bike to trivia*, or get in some outdoor juggling practice. But now I've got another reason to be happy that the sun is shining: it's making me money!

Through the exhaustive legwork and vision of a few very environmentally minded local folks, the Skagit County Community Solar project was born. The idea behind it is this: not everyone can put solar panels on their home (maybe they rent, live in a shaded area, or can't afford the cost of a whole system) but many want to support solar energy. So, if we all pool our money and find a well-lit spot, we can all share in a piece of the solar energy experience. The state of Washington encourages exactly this type of thing with a program called Community Solar. From their side, it encourages local jobs*, raises awareness of solar energy, and helps delay* building new power plants.

In short, the financial arrangement works like this: 20-30 folks bought "shares" to fund the purchase, install, and start a maintenance fund. Then, for the next 7 years, all governmental subsidies/payments get divvied up among the share holders. The money earned from selling our power back to the local power company goes to pay for the lease on the community roof we are using. Then, at the end of 7 years, we will sell the system to the Middle School (where the system is installed) and those profits, plus what is left out of the maintenance fund will be distributed among the shareholders. The idea is that shareholders will recoup their investment plus maybe 4%, depending on weather, maintenance, etc.

All in all, it's really an awesome kind of project to be involved in. We earn money, support the environment, and raise awareness about how others can support the environment as well. Win win win!
Wednesday October 9 2013File under: environment, Anacortes

Toggle Comments (3)comment?
on Thu 10th Oct, 2013 01:33 pm PDT Amiel Martin said:
*like*
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on Sun 27th Oct, 2013 09:44 am PDT Mark said:
Agreed - It's a great demonstration project & way to be involved for those who normally couldn't. The only part I don't like about it is that our arch-rival solar installer (I'm in the biz)low-balled us (once again), possibly to gain market share & name recognition in this town :(
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on Thu 20th Mar, 2014 01:20 am CDT Wren said:
The project now has a website explaining a little bit about it along with the ability to track how much energy it's producing. Pretty neat!
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