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Council approves Vashon solar project


Metropolitan King County
Council News

Council approves Vashon solar project


Panels to be set up at County transfer station


The Metropolitan King County Council today gave its unanimous approval to a partnership that will install solar panels at the Vashon Island Solid Waste Transfer Station to generate energy for the facility.

“Installing solar panels on county property in partnership with local residents is a win-win that promotes renewable energy, facilitates local investment in solar energy technology, and reduces energy costs for King County,” said Councilmember Larry Phillips, chair of the Council’s Transportation, Economy and Environment Committee and co-sponsor of the ordinance. “I hope to see this pilot project lead to expanded opportunities for renewable energy in our region.”

“Today's vote lays the groundwork for community driven solar projects in our County. I want to thank Backbone Solar for partnering with the County in this innovative program,” said Councilmember Joe McDermott, who represents Vashon and Maury Islands.

“We can work with communities to jump-start local investment in solar energy while saving money and advancing toward our goal to meet half of the County’s energy needs from renewable resources,” said King County Executive Dow Constantine. “Economic development and environmental sustainability go hand-in-hand.”

The adopted agreement between the County and Backbone Community Solar will allow Backbone to lease a 4,000 Square foot portion of the facility. Backbone, a non-profit organization that is involved in sustainability projects, would install solar panels at their expense on the area they’ve leased. The electricity generated by the solar panels would be sold back to Solid Waste at market rates for operation of the site.

The lease payment to the County will be $2,000 per year and shall be used as a credit against any electricity generated and used by King County. For example, if the solar panels generated $2,500 of electricity, King County would simply reimburse the group with difference between the rent and the value of the electricity; in this case $500.

The partnership between the County and Backbone is part of King County’s Community Solar Program. The program was initiated though a motion sponsored by Phillips and adopted by the Council last year. It takes advantage of a state program that provides incentives for citizens to form investment groups and purchase and install solar panels on public property.

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