Starting today, residents and businesses in Edmonds can purchase their own piece of the sun — or at least the energy generated from it.
Sustainable Edmonds, in partnership with Seattle-based Tangerine Power, announced the launch of the Edmonds Community Solar Cooperative that will install a 75-kilowatt community solar energy system on the Frances Anderson Center roof in downtown Edmonds. Membership in the Cooperative, the first community-owned solar cooperative in Washington state, is open to both residents and businesses with financial contributions to the project being returned to members by the year 2020.
According to a news release issued by both organizations, Tangerine Power will manage the installation of the solar energy system on the Frances Anderson Center, a City of Edmonds-owned community center located at 700 Main St. The system will produce 75,000 kilowatt hours annually – a significant share of the center’s electrical use – and is estimated to save the City of Edmonds more than $30,000 over the next 20 years. Minimum $1,000 shares in the project – known as Sun Slices – went on sale today.
Sustainable Edmonds, a non-profit, volunteer-run citizens’ organization that was started in 2008, initiated the project and cooperative with support of the City of Edmonds. Sustainable Edmonds selected Tangerine Power as the developer and administrator of the project.
To jump start clean-energy projects, the State of Washington is now offering incentives for those who participate in community solar projects in which multiple owners or contributors provide the upfront capital funding, and then receive payments for the value of the electricity produced over time proportional to their stake in the overall project.
“This program allows everyone –home and condo owners, renters and business owners – an opportunity to participate in affordable solar,” said Chris Herman, a board member of the Edmonds Community Solar Cooperative who also sits on the Sustainable Edmonds board.
The average cost for bringing solar power to a home is $25,000 to $30,000, and eligible homes must meet other criteria, such as having an appropriate roof with minimal obstructions that block the sun. “Joining a community solar cooperative is a more affordable way to participate in clean energy projects that reduce greenhouse gases and generate clean energy,” Herman said. “You can purchase a solar panel or two, and then receive a share of the energy and incentives generated indirectly through a rebate to cooperative members.”
Tangerine Power CEO and founder Stanley Florek said his company created the “SunSlice” concept to describe the individual shares that cooperative members purchase. “Our mission is to generate clean solar energy across the nation, and make solar affordable by setting up and managing community cooperative solar gardens like the one in Edmonds,” Florek said.
Tangerine Power, founded in 2009, is a “for-benefit” company that develops community energy projects in partnership with local organizations like Sustainable Edmonds. Tangerine is bringing the successful European model for cooperative clean energy development home to the U.S.
Washington State currently offers a $1.08 per kWh incentive for solar electricity that is generated, if it is classified as a community solar project. On average, City of Edmonds customers pay between $.06 and $.08 cents a kWh, so the state rebates a majority of the payments to community members who joined the cooperative and purchased shares in the project.
SunSlices are available for those interested in being part of the Edmonds Community Solar Cooperative. A minimum of 40 SunSlices must be sold by Dec. 24 to ensure the project is funded and can proceed. Visit www.tangerinepower.com/edmonds to learn more and join online.