Hummingbird Community Solar Project

Project Summary

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 enough energy to power 12 homes. Subscriptions to the project are publicly available through 800 solar units priced at $300 each. Each solar unit represents the energy production of about one third of a solar panel.

Video courtesy of Jenna Mason Media.

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 and to help move our region towards more clean energy. 

Illustrated Plan for Installation

Educational Benefits

We have partnered with the Children’s Museum to create educational curriculum. We participated in the museum’s annual Solar Days event where the community engages in activities focused on the sun and solar energy. We brought our new toy solar cars to demonstrate how solar energy can propel an motor.

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

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.

Design of the Hummingbird Project

Project Equipment

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 279 of these high quality panels, which are manufactured in Hillsborough Oregon.

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 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.