Community solar project cannot be built in spring

Submitted by sheilac on Thu, 04/02/2020 - 14:03
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With COVID-19-related uncertainties leading to a shortfall in contributions, the Sunny Okanogan Community Solar project will not proceed as anticipated this spring.

The Okanogan County PUD worked with customers interested in the project, which would have been a 74.4 kilowatt project to be built at the Ophir substation. When it came time for participants to contribute in March, the project did not gather the total amount needed.

The $262,000 project received $50,000 in a Bonneville Environmental Foundation grant, leaving $212,000 to be funded by participants. Only $86,300 came in, often attributed to concerns surrounding the COVID-19 virus. Several participants shared that they did not feel comfortable putting money toward a solar project when they didn’t know what else they might need those funds for in the current situation. Those who did contribute will receive their refund in mid-April.

The PUD had qualified for the state incentive of 14 cents per kilowatt-hour of production, but the deadline for completion of the project under that incentive is July 1. Looming supply shortages for solar components make that deadline difficult or impossible.

However, the state could still approve an extension of the state incentives, or a new program could become available. PUD staff will continue to monitor options for a future project, and appreciates the support and efforts of participants throughout this process.