One of the largest community solar projects in Washington’s Thurston County is now accepting customer enrollment. Known as the Hummingbird Community Solar Project, it’s intended to deliver 100 kilowatts through 297 solar panels and an inverter.
The Hummingbird Community Solar Project consists of 800 solar units being built on top of downtown Olympia’s Hands On Children’s Museum. It’s expected to be completed in November 2020. When enrollment was announced, the project had all 800 solar panels available for purchase, each unit costing $300.
According to Olympia Community Solar, the organization behind Hummingbird, one solar unit is “expected to annually generate about 165 [kilowatts/hour] of electricity.” The organization states that participation in the project will help in pollution reduction as each unit will offset 150lbs of CO2. Customers that register on the Olympia Community Solar website will be able to see the expected annual emissions offset based on the number of units they purchase.
When a panel is purchased, the individual, business, or organization then owns a portion of the Hummingbird project. They are able to hold onto their share of the project, gift it to friends, or donate it to a charitable organization. Annually, customers will receive a breakdown of how much electricity their purchased unit is producing. After all customers make back all of the $300 purchase price, the community solar project will be turned over to the Hands On Children’s Museum.
It’s expected that the museum will save upwards of $500,000 or more in utility costs over 40 years of production thanks to the Hummingbird Community Solar Project. Each enrollment directly benefits the museum and curbs the cost of power to run the interactive gallery.
In response to the community solar project, the museum revealed a concept to install an exhibit dedicated to clean energy. The educational exhibit will feature information and interactive displays to engage children and adults on the perks of solar power.