The ribbon cutting and dedication of Mason County’s first shared solar program is scheduled for 1:30 PM, December 21 at the Mason PUD 3 operations center, 2621 E Johns Prairie Road, Shelton.
Nearly 2,900 “solar units” were allocated to customers who had registered to participate in the project. Customers signing up for the program requested nearly twice as many units than were available.
The PUD’s shared solar energy system will generate enough electricity to power seven Mason County homes. It should be installed and generating electricity by mid-October atop one of the operations buildings at the PUD Johns Prairie operations center.
The PUD has a 225-kilowatt system on a nearby operations center building, which generates enough electricity to power up to 20 homes.
Participants will see their investment pay off quickly (estimated between three and four years) in two ways:
- An annual credit on a customer’s electric bill based on the electricity generated by their share of the project.
- An annual Washington State production incentive of $1.08/kWh that a customer’s solar units generate through 2020.
With 45 home solar power systems installed throughout Mason County, PUD 3 customers have shown a great deal of interest in renewable energy.
The shared solar project helps customers who for one or more reasons can’t take advantage of solar energy at their homes:
- The cost is out of their range.
- Solar panels, brackets and connectors can weigh down a roof.
- There’s not enough of a southern exposure to catch the sun.
- Nearby trees may block the sun.
- Restrictive homeowners association’s covenants.
- Adopting a lifestyle required for a home renewable energy system.
By Washington State law, the 75-kilowatt array is the maximum size Mason PUD 3 can build for a shared solar program. It’s expected that the state Legislature will consider changes to expand the ability of public utility districts and other to develop shared solar energy projects.