Seattle City Light and the Seattle Aquarium announced today that they will install the largest solar array at any West Coast aquarium this fall as part of the utility’s Community Solar and Green Up programs.
“Partnering with Seattle City Light supports our mission of inspiring conservation of our marine environment,” Aquarium Conservation Manager Mark Plunkett said. “Adding sustainable energy into our operations allows us to maintain our leadership within the environmental community.”
The 49 kilowatt project will cover much of the south side of the Seattle Aquarium’s roof. Most of the panels will produce electricity on behalf of City Light customers who want to buy solar power through the utility’s Community Solar program. The rest of the panels are being installed as a demonstration project through the utility’s voluntary Green Up renewable energy program with the electricity produced helping to power the Aquarium’s operations.
“This partnership provides an iconic location to demonstrate how solar works in Seattle,” City Light General Manager and CEO Jorge Carrasco said. “Adding more solar to our community’s clean energy portfolio along with hydroelectric and wind power is one more way Seattle City Light serves as a good steward for our environment.”
“With this project, our customers now have a new opportunity to directly purchase renewable solar electricity even if they can’t install panels at their homes or businesses,” Carrasco said.
Each 24 watt unit of the solar installation will cost $150. Customers can buy up to 125 units.
Participants receive credit on their City Light bills for their portions of the solar panels’ output through 2020 along with all state production incentives. Together, those credits amount to $1.15 per kilowatt-hour. City Light estimates that participants will receive more than $150 worth of electricity and production incentives for each unit purchased by the end of their agreements. Details are available online at www.seattle.gov/communitysolar .
Enrollment in Community Solar project begins Sept. 1, but customers can reserve space by calling Program Manager Suzanne DuRard at (206) 684-3874.
The solar project will cost about $330,000 to install. Solar panels for the project are being purchased from Marysville-based Silicon Energy, promoting green jobs in Western Washington.
Seattle City Light is the 10th largest public electric utility in the United States. It has some of the lowest cost customer rates of any urban utility, providing reliable, renewable and environmentally responsible power to nearly 1 million Seattle area residents. City Light has been greenhouse gas neutral since 2005, the first electric utility in the nation to achieve that distinction.