Project manager Scott Gibson demonstrates the approximate size of one unit. (Julia-Grace Sanders/ The Herald)

Project manager Scott Gibson demonstrates the approximate size of one unit. (Julia-Grace Sanders/ The Herald)

Solar energy generated in Arlington goes up for sale

The new program allows residents and renters to buy into solar energy for as little as $120.

ARLINGTON — In a nod to Earth Day, Snohomish Public Utility District customers can buy into solar energy generated in Arlington starting Monday.

One unit, or about one-fifth of a solar panel, costs $120.

The “community solar” program aims to allow those who can’t afford their own rooftop solar unit, don’t have an adequate roof or live in rented housing to support the development of solar power.

Customers can purchase up to 130 units for $15,600.

That initial investment will be regained in roughly eight years through rebates on PUD bills and state clean energy incentives. For each unit, the annual savings would total $16.50 — $4.50 in bill credits and $12 in state reimbursement.

“It’s a way to invest in the environment but get a little return on your investment,” project manager Scott Gibson said.

But don’t count on this as your retirement plan, project manager Suzy Oversvee said.

The return over the entirety of the 20-year project would be $186 for one unit. For 130 units, the return would be $24,180.

Estimated return on solar unit purchase

Individual units have an eight-year payback period through rebates on PUD bills and state clean-energy incentives.

Number of unitsPurchase priceJanuaryJulyAnnual total bill credit (20 years)Annual WA incentive (up to first 8 years)20-year return
1$120.00$0.15$0.66$4.50$12$186
5$600$0.73$3$22$60$930
75$9,000$11$50$337$900$13,950
130$15,600$19$86$585$1,560$24,180

Scenarios are for demonstration only. Figures are subject to change based on actual solar energy production.

Source: Snohomish County Public Utility District


The units can also be purchased as a gift, so long as the recipient is a Snohomish PUD customer.

Customers can choose to sell their units. The PUD won’t regulate resale prices, Gibson said.

If a customer moves within the county, their solar credit will move with them. It’s tied to the customer, not the house.

The 2-acre solar panel array is just west of the Arlington Municipal Airport, in the Arlington-Marysville Manufacturing Industrial Center. It is home to 8,100 units, PUD spokesperson Aaron Swaney said. That’s enough to power about 50 homes annually.

Construction began in February and is set to finish this month, Swaney said. The panels will be energized May 1. Seattle-based A&R Solar built the field for $900,000.

The solar panels are part of a micro-grid that will serve as back-up power for the PUD, allowing it to rely less on diesel generators during power outages.

Anyone can request a tour of the site, Swaney said.

Units at the Snohomish Public Utility District’s 2-acre “community solar” project go up for sale April 22. (A&R Solar)

Units at the Snohomish Public Utility District’s 2-acre “community solar” project go up for sale April 22. (A&R Solar)

The community solar project is part of a larger PUD mission to make renewable energy economically feasible for public utilities. In order for renewable energy projects to be affordable, districts need to find a way to make batteries pay for themselves, Gibson said.

“We know renewable energy and solar are part of our future, so this is our way of experimenting first-hand,” Gibson said. “It’s about reducing technical challenges and costs of PUDs purchasing batteries.”

The PUD also is testing two Nissan Leafs that can charge directly from their solar-powered micro-grid. The vehicles aren’t yet commercial products, Gibson said.

About 10 percent of the solar project, or 810 units, is reserved for a low-income pilot program. The details of that pilot will be ironed out within the next few months, Oversvee said.

As of mid-April, Oversvee said the community solar program had about 800 customers on a wait list. A link to purchase units will go live on the PUD’s website Monday.

Julia-Grace Sanders: 425-339-3439; jgsanders@heraldnet.com.

More in Local News

1893: First East Coast shipment of shingles leaves Everett

From the 14th Street Dock in Port Gardner Bay to St. Paul, Minnesota.

Nurses, caregivers announce strike at all Swedish branches

The three-day strike starts Jan. 28, ends Jan. 31. Swedish will fly in thousands of fill-in workers.

Martin Luther King’s spirit of service, selflessness still needed

A celebration of the Civil Rights leader’s legacy and life reflected on past and present struggles.

Straight shooter fire chief retires after 40 years on force

District 7’s Gary Meek was respected for leading, listening and having a great mustache.

Some old Snohomish County road names are rural vestiges

Roads with names aren’t uncommon. Some of the older roads’ namesakes are legacies of local history.

Fixing cars, drumming with a rock icon, living with dyslexia

Jack Tutt once traded a drum set for a Ford Bronco. He also hung out with the drummer from Heart.

Mill Creek City Councilmember Pam Pruitt takes her oath of office Jan. 7. She was voted to a fifth term as the mayor, an honorary position in the city’s government, by the council. (Mill Creek)
Front Porch

Naval station drills Naval Station Everett is running security exercises from 9… Continue reading

Lawmakers brace for political battle on bullets and AR-15s

Bills banning assault weapons and high capacity magazines will receive public hearings this week.

Police: Armed man spews ‘KKK’ remarks at Lynnwood Walmart

African American workers said they felt threatened. When police arrived, the suspect said “Shoot me!”

Most Read