Hummingbird Community Solar

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.
Grid Alternatives Community Solar Graphic

Hummingbird Project

Located on the Hands On Children’s Museum, the Hummingbird Project is one of the largest solar projects in Thurston County. It produces the electricity equivalent to power twelve homes.  The energy is purchased by the museum and it’s value distributed to more than 80 participants and 14 nonprofits. The project is equipped with SolarEdge Monitoring, which you can view below.

Our new community solar project on Thurgood Marshall Middle School is open for Enrollment!

Hummingbird Ownership

Participating Nonprofits

Local non-profits enrolled in the Hummingbird Project and received solar unit donations.  The energy that is produced by the solar unit is donated to the nonprofit organization. 

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. 

Hummingbird Project Installation

Educational Benefits

The museum will use Hummingbird as a teaching opportunity for visitors. The OCS team participated in the museum’s annual Solar Days event 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. A&R Solar’s workers received 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 Hillsboro 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 inverter

Solaredge Three Phase Inverter

The 100 kW AC three phase inverter is reliable and 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.

Special Thanks To Our Participants and Donors

Randy Acker
Laura and Doug Adamson
Robin Ballard
Andrea Ballard
Martin Barber
Jesse Barham
Lois Beck
Anthony Belgarde
Patty Belmonte
Rachel & Aaron Bernhard
Meryl Birn
Nathan Brown
Adam Brown
Mark & Nancy Brown
Robert Bruce
Susan Bryant
Barbara Buchan
Mike Buffo
Steven Byers
Javoen Byrd
Ryan Campbell
Maureen Canny
Jesse Card
Eddy Cates
Chris Chapman
Siddhant Chopda
Cynthia Clark
Andrew Clarke
Annie Clay-Witt
Reeves Clippard
Cece Clynch
Robert Coit
Peter Cook
Randi Covin
Jeff Crane
Tom Crawford
Deb Crockett
Geoff Crooks
Thad Curtz
Kimberly Danke
Casey Dilloway
Beth Doglio
Lane & Barbara Dorcy
Casey Duff
Emma Duff
Emily Ecker
Keith Eisner
Elizabeth Ellis
Karol Erickson
Suzanne & Tom Fell
Kelly, Isaac, and Olivia Floyd
Nancy Foley
Ann Freeman-Manzanares
Rachel Friedman
Nina Fuller
Marya Fuller
Golpar Garmestani
John Gear
Carrie Gehrke
Kellen Gehrke
Josephine Gehrke
Lee Ann Gekas
Mary Gentry
Clark & Marilyn Gilman
Antonio Ginatta
Jessica Gould
Brenda Grant
Daniel Graves
Michael Greenstreet
Kathy Hall
Jeffrey Hansen
Dianna Hanson
Alan Hardcastle
Richard & Betty Hauser
Richard & Elizabeth Hauser
Shawna Hawk
Bob Heck
Denny & Paula Heck
Nolan Hibbard-Pelly
Rich Hoey
Chia Chi Hsu
Richard Hurst
Barbara Jex
Bryan Johnston
Geoffrey Johnston
Brett Johnston
Jeffrey Johnston
Janet Josephson
Robert Kam
Sara King
Shelley Kirk-Rudeen
J. J. Koester
Gary Koshi
Dave Kozin
James Kruidenier
Andrew Kuka
Jane Laclergue
Karin Landsberg
Marcy LaViollette
Becky Liebman
Ashley Lin
Karen Lohmann
John MacLean
Tim Madeley
Dani Madrone
Philip Manijak
Shannon Markley
Cameron May
Greg McCann
Ben McConkey
James McGinn
Janet McLane
Samuel Merrill
Anthony Messmer
Carmen Miller
Jason Minters
Kathleen Mix
Richard Moon
Linda Moon
Beth Morrison
Adam Morse
Margaret and Peter Moulton
Peter Moulton
Jenna Nelson
Michael O’Brien
Wayne Olsen
Jen Olson
Hugh ONeill
Susan Ott
Brian Park
Susan Parker
David Peeler
Julie Peeples
Dusty Phillips
Cleve Pinnix
Gary & Geri Proctor
Karen Ray
Marsha Reilly
Jack & Donna Rice
Evan Robb
Jan Rocks
Mason Rolph
John Rolph
Casey Rood
Dan Rubin
Amanda Ruston
Maija Sandberg
Carol Sande
Joseph Sanders
Sunny Sanford
Greg & Kathleen Saul
David Scherer Water
Gary Schneider
Mark Schneiderman
Courtney Schneider-McKinney
Jill Schulte
Alexander Schulte
Arielle Simmons
Bill Sloane
Nancy Snyder
Trudy Soucoup
Mark & Sandra Spee
Mandy Stahre
Brett Stark
Matthew Strickland
Sarah Sutton
Marsha Tadano Long
Katrina Taylor
Adam Tenenbaum
Quita Terrell
Susan McRae Tharp
Chris Thompson
Kati Thompson
Leeann Tourtillott
Pam Trautman
Faith Trimble
Travis Trumbly
Frank & Pam Turner
Diane Utter
Mark Van Haitsma
Glenn Varano
Brook Waldman
Rachel Weber
Anne Whitney
Brian Wilcock
William Will
Mimi Williams
Richard Wolf
Leila Zheng
EJ Zita

MSGS Architects

Olympia Federal Savings
The Hands On Children’s Museum
Media Island International
Olympia Community Solar
Thurston County Food Bank
Centro Integral Educativo Latino de Olympia
Soup Sisters
Garden-Raised Bounty
Thurston Climate Action Team
Dispute Resolution Center
Capital Land Trust
Homes First
Olympia Symphony Orchestra
The Hawk Foundation
Olympia Mutual Aid Parners
Salmon Defense
The Olympia Food Cooperative
South Sound Sierra Club