Edmonds Community Solar Co-op: First in Western WA

Source:  Press Release, October 13, 2011.  Contact: Chris Herman | 206.525-3969| Stanley Florek | 425.891.4001

Edmonds Community Solar Cooperative Turns the Lights On at Frances Anderson Community Center

The public is invited to a ribbon cutting ceremony on October 19th at 1:30 pm in the Plaza Room of the Edmonds Library Building, 650 Main Street. The ceremony will honor the first community-owned solar cooperative in Western Washington, which is now generating clean energy from the sun in Edmonds. The Frances Anderson Community Center is now getting a part of its electricity from a 4.2 kW solar array system.

Edmonds Community Solar Cooperative (ECSC) was formed under a partnership between Sustainable Edmonds, a volunteer civic group, and Tangerine Power, responsible for the development of the community owned solar array system.

Speaking at the ribbon cutting ceremony will be Edmonds Mayor Mike Cooper, Senator Maralyn Chase, City Council member DJ Wilson, ECSC Interim President Chris Herman, and Stanley Florek, CEO and project developer of Tangerine Power.

ECSC has already started making plans for phase 2, which will increase the 4.2 kW system up to 60 kW, made up of over 300 solar panels. “It all depends on how much interest and desire the community members in the Snohomish PUD service area have to be directly involved in generating clean energy and reducing our dependence on conventional forms of power generation, with large environmental footprints,” stated Herman.

Mayor Cooper, an early supporter of the project, explained that the city is leasing roof space to ECSC and will buy electricity from the project at discounted rates until 2020. “These agreements form an important partnership between the City of Edmonds and a growing number of our citizens wanting to take decisive action to address energy independence, energy efficiency, and climate change.  Developing clean, renewable, solar projects like this one as well as other alternative energy sources like wind, tidal, biomass, and others, when combined with solid energy conservation strategies, will allow us to take a leadership role in a new energy future,” said Mayor Cooper.

The project, which was created by Sustainable Edmonds, has been in development for over a year. Efforts like this one, called Community Solar Projects, were created by state legislation passed in 2009. “Under the program, the ECSC conducted a spirited membership drive that encouraged each participant to put up $1,000 for a SunSlice™. Each SunSlice™ owner receives a voting membership allowing them to participate in decision making and reduces their personal carbon footprint on a pro-rata basis with all other members,” stated Stanley Florek. The maximum number of SunSlices™ that can be purchased by any one member is 10. “Phase 1 included 42 SunSlices™ sold and phase 2 could be up to 60 kW,” added Florek.

“The Cooperative is thrilled to have become the first citizen-owned community solar project in Washington. Partnering with the City of Edmonds empowers any Snohomish PUD customer to become a solar system owner with a relatively small financial commitment and achieve economies of scale and eligibility for federal and state incentives. This system allows the Frances Anderson Center to save on its energy bill for decades to come and provide educational opportunities for all Edmonds residents on the benefits of solar energy use,” said Carlo Voli, board member of ECSC and the first SunSlice™ buyer.

The ECSC has selected Tangerine Power of Seattle to develop and manage the project. Stanley Florek, CEO, said today, “Every year it gets easier and cheaper to make electricity from the sun. Tangerine Power is excited to help the Cooperative and the City of Edmonds pursue local energy production.”

Mayor Cooper added, “We all want energy independence and the only way to get there is to support innovative energy projects in our own cities.  Edmonds has taken this important first step.”

The Cooperative continues their membership drive for phase 2 of the system.  The ribbon cutting event on October 19th at 1:30 pm at the Plaza Room is an opportunity to celebrate the initiation of the solar array system on the roof and generate more awareness and additional SunSlice sales for phase 2.

Safety regulations do not allow the public to visit the roof where the solar array is installed.  Limited views are possible from the area between the Plaza Room and the Frances Anderson Center.

More Information about ECSC and the project can be found here.