The Sunny Okanogan Community Solar project is ready to start taking payments from Okanogan County PUD customers interested in participating, with the anticipation of building later this spring.
The 168 participants who signed an interest form over the last few months get the first opportunity to buy. They have until 5 p.m. PST March 18 to purchase their units. After that, any other Okanogan County PUD customer may purchase units of the project.
The project requires upfront payment from those participating in the project. “Units,” which are approximately 1/11th of a solar panel, will be sold for $100 each. The minimum buy-in is one unit at $100, with a maximum of 100 units at $10,000. All funds must be collected by 5 p.m. PST March 27 or the project will be canceled.
A Bonneville Environmental Foundation grant for $50,000 offsets the total cost of $262,000, which includes not only the construction, but also ongoing maintenance of the project. If successful in gathering funds, the 74.4 kilowatt project will be built at the Ophir substation, one of the PUD’s secured properties.
Participants will get an annual check from the state for 14 cents per kilowatt-hour of their share of the production. They will also receive an annual bill credit for 5 cents per kilowatt-hour of their share of the production. That puts payback around 16-17 years.
The solar project received one bid, after the district pursued more than 15 solar installers across the state. Only four companies completed the paperwork required to get on a roster, so that the PUD could request a bid from them. Of those four, only one company submitted a bid.
More information is available in PUD offices, or at the PUD website, www.okanoganpud.org/community-solar.