News Release, Community Solar – 1/6/15

For Information:
Erica Erland, Clark Public Utilities
360-992-3238, eerland@clarkpud.com 

Community Solar is Coming to Clark County, $100 Shares Available for Customers of Clark Public Utilities 

VANCOUVER, WA – January 6, 2015 – Residential customers of Clark Public Utilities can now invest in solar energy for as little as one hundred dollars per share. With state production incentives and annual energy generation credits, participants can expect to be paid back in less than four years.

“Community solar projects are a way to own a piece of a solar generator, without the bigger investment to put a system on your own home,” said Jim Malinowski, president of the Clark Public Utilities board of commissioners. “Projects like this have been very popular in other cities and we’re happy to provide our customers with the option to participate.”

Built on site at the utility’s Orchards location, the system will be a 74.8 kW array with 272 ground-mounted photovoltaic panels. A share of the system is 1/12 of one panel and costs $100. Residential customers of Clark Public Utilities can purchase one share or up to 100 shares, paying the cost in full or splitting it up quarterly or over the course of one year. All payments will be made via customers’ utility bills.

Current state production incentives of $1.08/kW through the year 2020, plus utility generation credits at the current rate of 8.16 cents/kW are projected to pay community solar participants back on the investment within four years. Owners of the project will continue to receive generation credits on their bills for the life of the system, estimated to be 20 years.

“For our customers who’ve considered putting solar on their homes, this investment will be very attractive. Personal systems have a hefty up front cost as well as roof and sun exposure requirements. Community projects eliminate all those issues,” said Matt Babbitts, Community Solar project manager. “The state incentives for community solar are also double those for individual home systems so the payback is quick and there’s no need to be a homeowner.”

Construction will begin in early spring using only materials manufactured in Washington state and the array is slated to begin generating by June 2015. No payments for purchased shares will be collected before the system is operating, but shares are on sale now.

“Shares will be sold first-come, first-serve,” said Babbitts. “Community solar projects in other cities have sold out quickly so those interested are encouraged to sign up soon. Participation is limited to residential customers, but there are no other requirements and the shares can move with you within Clark County.”