Participants and Mason PUD 3 Dedicate the County’s First Shared Solar Project

(SHELTON, WA)-Participants joined with community leaders Tuesday, December 21, 2015 at Mason PUD 3's Shelton headquarters to dedicate Mason County’s first shared solar energy project.

The 75-kilowatt project is located at PUD 3’s Johns Prairie operations center. Approximately 110 PUD customers will be reaping benefits of energy produced by the solar array, a Washington State Production Incentive, and federal tax credits. It will generate enough electricity to power seven Mason County homes.

Nearly 2,900 “solar units” were allocated to customers who had registered to participate and collectively pay for the project. Customers signing up for the program requested nearly twice as many units than were available.

“I’m happy that we can share this special day with the participants in Mason County’s first shared solar power program,” said Tom Farmer, PUD 3 commission president. Although the PUD has reached size limit under state law on what it can build for community solar, Farmer said, “we hope that the Legislature will consider changes that will expand the ability of public utility districts and others to develop more community solar energy projects.”

Participants will see their investment pay off quickly (estimated between three and four years) in three 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.

  •  The opportunity to use a federal tax credit for solar energy systems (participants are urged to consult with their tax advisor for more information.)

With 49 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.

The PUD has a 225-kilowatt system on a nearby operations center building, which generates enough electricity to power up to 20 homes.

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