City of Edmonds, solar cooperative sign documents for roof lease

Chris Herman, president of the Edmonds Community Solar Cooperative, and Edmonds Mayor Mike Cooper sign the agreement.

Edmonds Mayor Mike Cooper and Edmonds Community Solar Cooperative  President Chris Herman have signed the required documents to construct and operate a 75-kilowatt solar power installation at the city’s Frances Anderson Center. The city is leasing roof space to the solar cooperative 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,”  Cooper said. “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.”

Washington state lawmakers passed legislation to create community solar projects like this one in 2009, and the Edmonds City Council gave the green light for the Frances Anderson Center roof lease April 5. Under the program, the Edmonds solar cooperative will conduct a membership drive that will require each participant to put up $1,000 for a “Sun Slice,” entitling them to cooperative membership.  The maximum number of Sun Slices that can be purchased by any one member is 10.

“The Cooperative is thrilled to be involved in the first citizen-owned community solar project in Washington,” Herman said. “Partnering with the City of Edmonds empowers any SnoPUD (Snohomish County 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.” Herman noted that the arrangement also benefits the city through energy savings for the Frances Anderson Center, and provides “educational opportunities for all Edmonds residents on the benefits of solar energy use” said Chris Herman.

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

Added Edmonds City Council President Strom Peterson: “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 hopes to complete its membership drive and begin construction of the first phase by this summer.

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