Tacoma Power has begun offering a way for its customers to invest in solar energy by starting Pierce County’s first community solar project.
The program seeks to provide customers with an easy way to participate in an affordable way to invest in solar energy by offering a 75-kilowatt project that doesn’t require home ownership, a load-bearing roof, or even the cost of installing solar panels.
Tacoma Power customers simply purchase solar units for $100 each and receive an annual incentive payment and payments for the electricity produced from the project. It’s a bit like a solar cooperative where the money is pooled to build solar panels and each of the co-op members share in the proceeds. Projections forecast the initial investment will be paid back after four years.
The solar panels will cost between $290,000 and $340,000 to install early next year and will be located on a warehouse owned by Tacoma Power. Power generated by the panels will feed into the utility’s power grid.
“Tacoma Power, along with many other regional utilities, will build a community solar project to help customers take advantage of state incentives,” according to Tacoma Public Utilities. “Tacoma Power has a long history of renewable electricity – all of the power we produce is renewable hydropower. Nearly all of the power we purchase from the Bonneville Power Administration is renewable as well. Community solar is one more form of renewable energy to add to our extensive portfolio.”
Washington’s solar energy incentive is scheduled to end in 2020.
Customers who would like to participate in the program and buy solar units when they go on sale early next year are encouraged to register online today at tacomapower.com/communitysolar.