Beginning at 10 a.m. on Wednesday, March 21, Orcas Power and Light Cooperative members can purchase units of the co-op’s first Community Solar project while they last. To get yours, go to opalco.com/solar and fill out the participation agreement. The one-time cost to participate is $150 per unit (75W) and members can purchase multiple units in this 350KW array.
In a nutshell, the OPALCO solar array produces electricity. The electricity produced becomes virtual net metering credits. The credits are applied to members’ electric bills, based on how many units are purchased. The simple payback on members’ investment is estimated at 10.2 years, and the term of the project is 20 years. To learn more, go to www.opalco.com/solar.
When members complete the participation agreement form online (paper forms available upon request), they will get an email confirmation that their request was received. Once the project participation is at 100 percent, OPALCO will contact member investors to confirm their number of units. The total cost of the units will be added to members’ OPALCO bills beginning in May. Members must pay for their Community Solar units on their regular billing deadline.
Members have shown a high level of interest in this project and they expect the units to go fast. The goal of Community Solar is to make the project benefits available to as many members as possible. In order to give all members a chance to participate, members who want a larger piece of this first project (more than 50 units) may have to wait for future projects to realize their total investment, which will be based on member demand.
Construction on the Community Solar project on Decatur Island begins in June, and the array is expected to be producing power as soon as July. Bill credits will begin to appear on participating members’ bills in September.
OPALCO staff will be live streaming on Facebook (@OrcasPower) on Thursday, March 22, to talk about the project and answer questions.