Though we see plenty of rain and clouds here in Western Washington, solar power promises a bright future for our region. In the past few years, more than 5,500 Puget Sound Energy customers have installed their own solar-energy systems. And the number of people going solar continues to grow.
It's not just our region's long and sunny summer days that suit the generation of solar-powered electricity. Solar panels can produce power (at lower levels) even under gray, wintery skies.
Our customers not only are generating electricity to light their homes and businesses, but many earn net-metering bill credits from us when their solar systems produce more power than the customers are using.
To help demonstrate the viability of solar power in the Northwest, PSE built one of the region's largest solar arrays in 2007 at our Wild Horse Wind and Solar Facility in Kittitas County. The installation can produce up to 500 kilowatts of power.
Fast facts about Wild Horse
Features 2,723 photovoltaic solar panels
Includes the first made-in-Washington solar panels—315 panels made by Silicon Energy in Arlington
Produces power even under cloudy skies—50 to 70 percent of peak output with bright overcast and 5 to 10 percent with dark overcast
509-964-7815 (April through November)
Wild Horse Wind and Solar Facility and Renewable Energy Center
25901 Vantage Highway
Ellensburg, Wash. 98926
Check out the tours and recreational opportunities offered at the Wild Horse Wind and Solar Facility.
How solar power works
Sunlight hits two layers of semiconductor material, producing a difference in electrical potential, or voltage, between the layers. The voltage then drives current through an external electrical circuit.