PSE funds five solar projects through Green Power program grants
The five grant recipients are organizations that serve local communities

BELLEVUE, Wash. (1/5/2018) PSE is ringing in the new year by giving five organizations in its service area the gift of green energy.

The recipients are organizations that are either food distribution centers or emergency warming shelters in their respective communities. PSE is donating $350,000 to install solar panels at Northwest Harvest in Kent, Community Action of Skagit County, Island Senior Resources, Salvation Army Bremerton and the Upper Kittitas County Senior Center. All five projects will be installed by June.

“Whether it’s providing food or emergency shelter, the organizations that were selected have a history of helping people in their communities, which is aligned with what’s important to PSE,” said Bob Stolarski, PSE director of Customer Energy Management & Renewables. “We’re excited that funding these solar projects will help reduce the energy costs for our recipients, so they can put more money towards supporting their core mission while helping to reduce their carbon footprint.”

The grants will allow each organization to meet at least 10 percent of their load with solar energy. Not only will these organizations receive energy savings but eight years of renewable energy production incentive payments from the state.

Northwest Harvest, the only statewide non-profit distributor serving 370-plus food banks, meal programs and high-need schools, will be able to reduce their operating budget by over $5,000 per year with the installation of its solar panels. In addition, this 75 kilowatt project will result in approximately $34,000 in state incentives over 8 years. This would be a cumulative savings of $145,000 over the next 15 years.

“Northwest Harvest is very appreciative of this grant from PSE,” said Thomas Reynolds, Northwest Harvest’s CEO. “We know that for every dollar we can save in keeping our lights on and our food cold, is an extra dollar that goes toward helping feed those in our community who are suffering from hunger.”

The Salvation Army Bremerton Corps serves youth and low-income community members in Kitsap County. Their 14 kilowatt solar project will help the organization save more than $1,300 a year and generate more than $1,400 in annual state production incentives through 2026 – money that the organization can put toward program costs that more directly help the community.

“Our operating funds for each budget year are raised in that year,” said Major Scott Ramsey with the Salvation Army. “Ongoing fund raising is part of our daily reality to keep programs open and operating to serve those in need. Any money saved in building operation is put right into programs serving the basic needs of the homeless and needy of our community. We are so appreciative of PSE for their willingness to support our work in this way.”

The solar panels will help Community Action of Skagit County to save more than $2,000 a year on their electric bills and will generate more than $17,000 from state production incentive payments. These savings and incentive payments will allow the organization to put more money toward their core mission of serving Skagit and Northern Island Counties as their emergency food distribution facility – distributing 2.5 million pounds of food annually to organizations that feed the hungry.

“This solar project coupled with the PSE-funded generator will equip the region with a central distribution center mobilized to assist with disaster response in addition to the daily disaster of food insecurity in our region,” said Cole Bitzenburg, Community Food Access Manager for Community Action of Skagit County.

Island Senior Resources– the primary provider of services for seniors in Island County says the solar panel helps them to direct more revenue toward support of the fast-growing senior population in Island County. Over a 25-year period, this project will allow the organization to redirect $100,000 to underwrite needed resources.

“Every dollar saved in defraying the cost of energy through solar power production means that there will be increased capacity to serve the growing senior population in Island County,” said Island Senior Resources Executive Director Cheryn Weiser. “We are thrilled with the opportunity to join the solar power community.”

The Upper Kittitas County Senior Center’s mission is to enhance the physical, emotional and economic well-being of seniors’ lives in Kittitas County; and serves as an emergency shelter. The 18 kilowatt solar project is expected to save the organization approximately $3,700 each year.

“We appreciate the Puget Sound Energy grant,” said Upper Kittitas County Senior Center President Susan Klein. “It means a lot for our center and our community. Solar panels will help with our energy costs and will definitely be a plus for the Center.”

With the exception of Northwest Harvest, which already had a generator, all of the others were also recipients of grants for high-powered generators from the PSE Foundation.

PSE has announced its commitment to reduce its carbon footprint 50 percent by 2040, and these solar projects are another step it’s taking with the community to preserve and protect the environment for future generations.