On November 1st we held a ribbon cutting ceremony to mark the completion of our new Community Solar project at Thurgood Marshall Middle School! This unique project will reduce the school’s carbon footprint, provide meaningful energy savings, and serve as a symbol of hope for all its students for years to come. During the ceremony we got to talk about the benefits of community solar, meet the individuals and organizations that made the project a reality, and celebrate the Olympia School District’s commitment to a cleaner and brighter future for all their students!
This Community Solar project allows individuals and groups outside the school to contribute to it, in return, they receive a portion of the benefits of the electricity. Approximately 8% of the project will benefit these participants, while the remaining 92% of the benefits will be directed to Homes First, a local provider of housing for low-income residents. This project is especially momentous because it’s one of the first in the state funded by Washington State University’s Community Solar Low Income Expansion Program funding. The school enjoys a small reduction of energy costs for the first 15 years of the project as the majority of energy benefits are paid out to project participants. These savings directly benefit Homes First assisting low-income residents and other individuals in need, while simultaneously reducing the school’s impact on the environment. Afterwards, the project will be donated to the school and is expected to deliver approximately $920,000 of energy savings over its lifetime.
Community solar projects such as Thurgood Marshall expand solar access to those without access to traditional residential solar for people who don’t own their home, have an unsuitable roof or property for solar or face financial barriers to incorporating solar. As an integral community resource for families in Olympia, Thurgood Marshall Middle School is ideal for hosting a community solar array. The project includes 306 solar panels across the Middle School’s roof. Puget Sound Solar designed and installed the 150 kW system that’s capable of producing 149 thousand kilowatt-hours a year. This will reduce the school’s energy bill, contribute to sustainable infrastructure in Olympia, and create learning opportunities for Thurgood Marshall students on renewable energy for years to come.
Special thanks to our speakers, Olympia School District Superintendent Patrick Murphy, Thurgood Marshall Middle School Principle Anthony Brock, Puget Sound Solar founder Jeremy Smithson, and Olympia Community Solar President Mason Rolph.
The project was developed by Olympia Community Solar, financed by Craft3, and constructed by Puget Sound Solar. The project is owned and operated by Olympia Community Solar.