Bright idea comes to city hall: Solar panels

The project to install solar panels at Bainbridge city hall is about to see the light of day.

“This will be the largest solar energy system on Bainbridge by far, and the first community solar project,” said Joe Deets.

“Everyone is ready, we have the components and parts, we have the installation crew, we have the permitting,” he said.

Deets is president of Community Solar Solutions, the nonprofit company contracted to manage the solar panels.

The installation process will begin at 8 a.m on Monday, June 18 and will take approximately three weeks, Deets said. And when the installation is complete by mid-July, Bainbridge will truly be an island in the sun.

When put in place on the southern-facing middle roof of city hall, the 297 solar panels will have the ability to produce 240 watts each, creating an impressive 71.28-kilowatt system.

The panels and other equipment will come from Itek, based in Bellingham.

Another Puget Sound-based company, Sunenergy Systems from Seattle, will handle the installation work.

“We have a local company doing the parts, and a local company doing the installation, and local investors funding it,” Deets said. “We are all local islanders funding this. No grants, no stimulus funds — this is totally done by people on the island who saw the value of investing in the community with green technology.”

A total of 25 investors are funding the project. With a combination of government incentives for solar energy investment, and revenue gained from producing energy through the solar panels, the investors will make a profit off the panels while city hall also gets a discount on its energy consumption.

The city’s contract with Community Solar Solutions will run until 2020. It will then have the opportunity to purchase the panels and continue using them, or have them removed.

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