The Thurgood Marshall Community Solar Project
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 barriers to solar access for:
- Renters & non-homeowners
- Those that cannot afford the cost of a residential solar installation
- Homes that are unsuitable for a solar installation.
Washington residents have the opportunity to purchase solar units, subscriptions to a portion of the project’s energy generation. Your upfront contribution is used by Olympia Community Solar to fund the solar installation. As the project generates energy we’ll send you an annual payment for your portion.
Anybody has the opportunity to donate solar units to a participating non-profit. Your donation is tax-deductible and the non-profit you choose will receive an annual payment for the donated portion of the project.
Nonprofit Partners: Thurston County Food Bank, Salmon Defense, Capitol Land Trust, Garden Raised Bounty (GRUB), Dispute Resolution Center, Thurston Climate Action Team, and Olympia Community Solar.
ABOUT THE PROJECT
Olympia Community Solar (OCS) is a local non-profit working to expand access to solar energy. Our team organizes community solar projects so that community members can participate in a local clean energy economy.
We recently celebrated the commissioning of the Sunflower Community Solar project at the Olympia Farmers Market. Our local farmers market is now powered 100% by the sun.
We’re partnering with the Olympia School District to install a community owned solar project at Thurgood Marshall Middle School. The project will create new clean energy ownership opportunities, reduce the cost and pollution content of the school’s electricity, and support regional climate mitigation efforts.
Our nonprofit will develop and maintain the solar project. Community members provide the upfront project capital by purchasing or donating solar units, subscriptions to the project’s energy production. Over time participants recover their contribution through the sale of electricity.
The school will pay for the solar energy at a price lower than the utility’s retail rate. Once the participant’s capital contribution is recovered (with interest but not profit), their participation ends and the system will be donated to the school district.
ABOUT THE EQUIPMENT
What's a Solar Unit?
A Solar Unit represents a portion of a community solar project’s capacity. Thurgood Marshall project Solar Units represents 245 Watts, or one half a solar panel.
Each Solar Unit will generate about $23 dollars of electricity per year. Participants will receive an annual payment until their contribution is returned with interest before the project is donated to the Olympia School District.
This project will include Silfab 490 Watt solar panels. The panels are highly regarded in the solar industry for their impressive warranties and efficiency. The commercial module stands at over two meters tall and includes solar optimizers.
The 100 kW SolarEdge inverter includes an 20 year extended warranty. This inverter will covert the panel’s Direct Current (DC) solar energy into Alternating Current (AC) energy that the school can utilize.
Public Production Monitoring
SolarEdge monitoring will provide out team and the public with real-time production numbers, alerts if issues occur, and some really cool looking graphs.
We use the monitoring system to create monthly energy bills for Thurgood Marshall. After paying for expenses, energy revenue is dispersed to project participants.
We’re taking advantage of Net Metering, the cornerstone policy of the solar industry.
If our solar panels ever produce more electricity than the school consumes, it will flow into the grid and the electric utility provides the school with credits. Later, when we need more utility power the credits reduce the school’s electric bill.
Most residential and small commercial solar projects use net metering. Learn more by visiting our Legislation page.
ABOUT THE INSTALLER
Puget Sound Solar LLC (PSS) was founded by Jeremy Smithson and Pamela Burton with a vision of a green, sustainable future for the residents of Puget Sound. PSS is a Washington General Electrical Contractor (License # PUGETSS920RH) and General Construction Contractor (License # PUGETSS932MU). PSS installed Seattle’s first residential grid-tied solar electric system in 2001 and we’ve been installing Electric Vehicle (EV) Charging stations since 2006.
Over the years, we’ve installed over 21,000 kilowatts of solar energy projects, including about 35% of all photovoltaic systems in the Seattle City Light service area, and 10% of all such systems statewide. We’ve installed over 1500 electric vehicle charging stations. Between 2009 and 2013 we performed 600 complete home energy audits and over 200 home energy retrofits, giving us a deep understanding of the interconnection between renewable energy and energy efficiency.
PSS designs, installs, and services all types of grid-connected solar electric systems. We have licensed electricians on staff and do 100% of our installation work in house. We are located at the geographical center of Seattle at 805 Rainier Avenue South, 98144.