Vashon meets PSE’s second challenge

Vashon came a little closer to building a community solar project last month when residents met Puget Sound Energy’s second Green Power Challenge, earning a $15,000 grant from PSE for the project.

PSE’s first challenge was met in August when Vashon gained 110 new enrollments in its Green Power Program for $10,000 in grant money. In light of the Island’s quick success, PSE issued another challenge, asking for 90 more enrollments by the end of the year for $5,000 more.

Under the Green Power Program, residential participants purchase $4 to $10 in renewable energy credits each month to support independent renewable energy projects in the Northwest. Businesses that participate pay larger amounts, based on their energy usage and the amount of their consumption they want covered by the credits.

Sustainable Vashon, which initiated the chal-lenge last year and will administer the grant, gained the final enrollments at the last Vashon Farmers Market in December, where the band that was playing called out the needed numbers and encouraged Islanders to sign up.

“We certainly used that as perfect opportunity to encourage people,” said Merilee Runyan, a Sustainable Vashon board member.

There are now 758 Island customers enrolled in the program.

Runyan said she was thrilled to see Vashon once again meet PSE’s challenge.

“I think that it shows people’s commitment to alternative energy forms and their interest in doing something individually,” she said.

The Backbone Campaign’s Community Solar Working Group is teaming up with Sustainable Vashon to develop a community solar project. They are currently moving forward on plans for a solar array that Islanders could buy into. In return, solar investors would receive federal tax benefits and state incentives.

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