Solar panels at Land Trust unveiled

Efforts to lighten the Island’s carbon footprint are well under way, with the installation earlier this month of small-scale solar panels on the rooftops of two buildings owned by Vashon nonprofits.

Sustainable Vashon’s Solar Initiative and Puget Sound Energy (PSE), partners in the undertaking, will hold a dedication ceremony unveiling the solar array at the Vashon-Maury Island Land Trust building at noon Tuesday, June 16. The building is located at 10014 Bank Rd. Another solar array, atop the Vashon HouseHold/JG Commons building, will be dedicated in August.

“These installations will do more than generate electricity,” said Janie Starr, one of the coordinators of the Solar Initiative. “The solar panels will introduce students and community members to renewable energy technology, ... and hopefully set the stage for larger, more extensive projects in the future.”

The two systems were purchased with contributions of $29,000, including $20,000 by PSE. The company’s support comes by way of its Green Power Program, which encourages customers to purchase electricity from certified renewable energy sources. The percentage of Vashon subscribers to the Green Power Program — 7 percent of all electric customers on Vashon — is the highest of any community in PSE’s electric service territory, officials said.

“Solar energy works in the Northwest, and Sustainable Vashon’s Solar Initiative will help demonstrate this technology,” said Patti McClements, manager of the Vashon Island PSE customer service office. “This project will help raise awareness of new choices we can make in how we produce and use energy.”

Other contributors include the Hendrix Foundation, IBEW Local 46, the Vashon Island Lavender Growers and the Northwest Solar Center, as well as in-kind support from Artisan Electric and Focused Energy.

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