Jefferson County International Airport and the Port of Port Townsend are looking at years of free power thanks to the Jefferson Solar Group. The investors behind the Washington community solar energy group announced on Monday, April 27, that they have donated a selection of solar panels to power the maritime hub and airport. From the generated power, the Jefferson County International Airport will receive 10 more years of complimentary electricity.
As part of a ten-year-old deal with the Port of Port Townsend, the solar investment group provided the port with a 5,000-square-foot farm of panels to provide power for free to either taxpayers or the port. Included in that deal was solar power to the international airport, which has been running its lights and navigation at no additional charge.
In exchange for providing power to the airport and port, the Jefferson Solar Group was given federal and state tax credits of up to 30%. Additional perks for promoting the switch to community solar energy were also provided, including annual production incentives. Originally, the credits were scheduled to expire in June of this year. However, the newly donated panels will extend these benefits for an additional ten years.
The Jefferson Solar Group was started in part by Andy Cochrane, owner of Power Trip Energy in Port Townsend. Through his original business, he connected with consumers interested in Washington community solar power and secured investments to form the Jefferson Solar Group.
The array that sparked the first ten-year agreement was constructed near the airport and cost approximately $125,000 to complete. Initially, the investment group worked out a reduced electrical rate for the airport in exchange for a land lease. Initially, the port was set to purchase the solar panel arrays for $50,000, but the investment group opted to donate them instead.
“We’re just going to leave it where it is, where it functions just fine and makes clean power for the rest of its life,” Cochrane explained of the donation. “From an investor standpoint, with the price of solar coming down, it is not worth removing it and installing it elsewhere.”