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New Solar Project at Local Pool Provides Energy Efficiency and Financial Feasibility

On November 4 in White Center, the Evergreen Aquatic Center hosted a special event to mark the completion of an 86-solar panel project to produce energy on top of the building.

At the event, Bryan Hastings, President of Whitewater Aquatics Management, talked about the value the pool has brought the local community for the past 53 years and how the solar installation is a logical, responsible choice going forward:

“A pool is expensive to operate. In fact, the only way to make ends meet in managing a pool and maintaining reasonable admission fees is to stabilize the utilities. For example, we spend $23,000 a year on electricity, or about $1,900 a month. This doesn’t count other utility costs, so you can imagine the enormity of the cost of keeping 250,000 gallons of water heated and pure enough to swim in. Additionally, the carbon emissions from a pool are enormous. We want to make this pool green, both in energy efficiency and financial feasibility.”

Bryan noted how the pool saw solar as an option to achieve these goals after learning of Seattle City Light’s Green Up Community program through City Light’s informational customer newsletters. From there, they worked with City Light staff, got estimates on a system from Artisan Electric, and applied for the grant. As this system comes online, Bryan makes it clear what the system means to the pool and its community:

“Our pool will use only a third of the electricity as before, and this will be in perpetuity. These savings allow us to make the pool more affordable, as we pass these savings on to our pool users. Our pool will also be creating much of the power that we will be using instead of taking it from the grid. It means we are reducing our carbon footprint, and this is the only solution for all of us as we try and protect this planet for our kids.”

Bryan Hastings, Joe Fernandi, and Jon Goins spoke at the event.

Jon Goins, a board member for Whitewater Aquatics, was also available to speak about the installation itself:

“The system has 68, 500-watt panels, which can generate enough power to offset a third of the pool’s yearly electrical usage. The system will fully pay for itself in under 10 years due to strong Washington state incentives. In the summer, the solar sends excess power back to the grid to be redistributed locally. And even on rainy winter days like today, it’s still producing a small portion of the pool’s electrical needs.”

City light proudly contributed just over $50,000 in renewable energy credits for this local rooftop solar project through the Green Up Community program with the assistance of Customer Energy Solutions team members Shari Weir and Lisa Espinosa. City Light’s Director of Customer Energy Solutions, Joe Fernandi, joined the speakers and applauded the partnership and efforts of the project team:

“At Seattle City Light, we’re proud to be a leader in supporting sustainable energy solutions for our region. And this solar installation here at Evergreen Aquatic Center is exactly the type of project we want to help our communities realize.”

Green Up is a voluntary renewable energy program that allows City Light customers to support Pacific Northwest solar, wind, and other renewable energy projects that generate carbon-free energy. When City Light customers participate in Green Up, we purchase renewable energy credits on behalf of our customers. Green Up also sources renewable energy credits from local rooftop solar projects hosted by nonprofit and public organizations like schools, parks, and affordable housing authorities. We are so grateful for the opportunity to partner with the Evergreen Aquatic Center and support the City of Seattle’s Climate Action Plan. Visit our website if you’re interested in participating in Green Up to support projects like this or install solar of your own.