OPALCO members for community solar

Submitted by OPALCO

More than 1,200 OPALCO members responded to an online survey about community solar power, showing they very interested in the project, as long as rates aren’t affected. A request for proposals was published in September for solar installers interested in designing and building the project.

Orcas Power and Light Cooperative, or OPALCO, is our member-owned cooperative electric utility, serving more than 11,000 members on 20 islands in San Juan County.

OPALCO’s community solar project will give co-op members an opportunity to purchase units of the large solar array and receive monthly bill credits based on the production of their units. The project will be constructed at OPALCO’s substation on Decatur Island. Planning is underway in 2017 with construction beginning in 2018. Project details such as cost, return on investment and number of units available will be published by January, which is when we expect members can begin to purchase units.

The survey showed that members would like more information about solar power and the project, as well as frequent project updates.

Of those surveyed,

  • 61 percent would invest at least $150.
  • 35 percent would invest at least $450.
  • Others wrote in amounts in the thousands.

Members are motivated primarily by financial factors, such as return on investment, out-of-pocket costs and affordability compared to rooftop solar. Comments show support for carbon reduction, community sustainability and creating a model for others. See full the full report in the Resource Library at www.opalco.com (Governance and Finance / Member Surveys).