Hummingbird Community Solar Project Logo

Community Solar is a model of solar energy development where a group of people own and benefit from a single solar array.

It’s a way to address the barriers to solar access that face:

  • Renters & non-homeowners
  • Those that cannot afford the cost of a residential solar installation
  • Homes that are unsuitable for a solar installation.
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Grid Alternatives Community Solar Graphic

Hummingbird Project

When installed on the Hands On Children’s Museum the Hummingbird Project will be one of the largest solar projects in Thurston County. It will produce the electricity equivilent to power 12 homes.  The solar energy will be purchased by the museum and it’s value distributed to project participants.  To date, more than 80 participants and 14 nonprofits own solar units.

Depiction of the progress of Hummingbird Project enrollment. 92% as of August 26th, 2020.

Each solar unit represents an 18 year subscription to the production of one third of a solar panel. Will you be a Hummingbird and contribue a solar unit?  

Click the link below to enroll or donate!

Participating Nonprofits

These local non-profits have enrolled in the Hummingbird Project and are eligible to receive solar unit donations. Your donation goes towards building the solar array that will be on top of the Hands on Children’s Museum. The energy that is produced by the solar unit is given to your nonprofit of choice over time. Your donation will help the Museum, the nonprofit you choose, and lower pollution. 

Click on the logos below to learn about each nonprofit organization. Then click here to donate solar energy to one of them! 

The Hummingbird Story

We chose to name the project “Hummingbird” because of a story told by Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Professor Wangari Maathai

The story begins with a forest being consumed by fire. All of the animals in the forest rush to safety, transfixed and frightened by the fire, except for the little Hummingbird. Flying to the nearest stream, the Hummingbird picks up tiny scoops of water to drop on the blaze, zooming back and forth as fast as it can. Larger animals, like the elephant, stand back and question the Hummingbird, “What do you think you can do? You’re too small and the fire is too big!” The Hummingbird responds without pausing, “I’m doing what I can.”

The Hummingbird Community Solar Project gives our community an opportunity to be hummingbirds. 

Team photo at the Capital Campus
Deims, Ari, and Matt at the Capitol

We would love to talk with you!  Send us questions, a request to talk on the phone, or your favorite clean energy joke. 

Educational Benefits

The museum will use Hummingbird as a teaching opportunity for visitors of the museum. Together, we’ll build an exhibit to showcase the benefits of solar energy to our community.

The OCS team participated in the museum’s annual Solar Days event in July where visitors engage in activities focused on the sun and solar energy. We brought our toy solar cars to demonstrate how solar energy can propel an motor. They worked great and the kids got a great visual of solar in action.

The Solar Installer

After a comprehensive bidding process, we selected Seattle-based installer A&R Solar to design and install the Hummingbird project. A&R has over a decade of solar experience including projects at the Thurston County Food Bank, Skokomish Community Center, and more than 1900 homes around Washington. All of A&R Solar’s contractors will receive prevailing wage rates for their work on this project.

Hummingbird Final Architectural Layout
Design of the Hummingbird Project

Project Equipment

395 watt Sunpower solar panel

Sunpower 395 Watt Solar Panel

A super-efficient solar panels leads to more production per square foot, and these panels have built in P860 power optimizers that improve performance by up to 25%. The project features 301 of these high quality panels, which are manufactured in Hillsborough Oregon.

production tracking icon

Web-Based Monitoring

Hummingbird features web-based production monitoring so project participants and Museum visitors can watch the real time energy output. Hummingbird is projected to produce 129,600 kWhs of electricity each year, enough to power more than 12 homes.

Solaredge inverter

Solaredge Three Phase Inverter

The 100 kW AC three phase inverter is reliable and part of a system that meets high standards of electric grid safety requirements. We choose the extended 20 year warranty so the project is never at risk of an inverter failure.