Construction is progressing quickly on the 423 kW Avista Community Solar Array, serving residential and commercial electricity customers throughout eastern Washington state. Crews have installed all 1,512 solar electric panels at Boulder Park on North Barker Road in Spokane Valley. They are finishing the electrical work, and will perform testing before turning on the state’s third-largest solar array at the end of August.
Subscribers Earn 14x the Current Electricity Rate
Each 280-watt panel will harness the sun’s energy and feed it directly to Avista’s electric grid. To enroll in the roofless solar program, each solar photovoltaic (PV) panel carries an all-inclusive, one-time fee of $1,400. Any residential or commercial customer with an Avista electricity bill can subscribe to a single solar panel, or choose up to 12 panels, depending on their electricity usage. Each subscriber will receive credits of $1.08 per kilowatt hour (kWh) from Washington state incentives, in addition to an on-bill credit from Avista for $0.049 per kWh based on the clean energy their panels generate.
Thanks to the attractive state incentives, solar participants can expect to recoup the cost of their panels in just 3.75 years—that’s a payback of 26 percent in the first year alone. Compared to the current retail rate of 8 cents per kWh for residential electricity, this results in a payback of 14 times greater.
When the five-year state incentive expires on June 30, 2020, the community solar array will continue to provide locally-sourced renewable energy to benefit of all Avista electricity customers.
Featuring All Locally-Made Equipment
The largest community solar program in the state of Washington, the Avista Community Solar Array is also the biggest facility that uses all locally-made equipment. All polycrystalline silica PV panels are manufactured by Bellingham-based Itek Energy, which began producing solar panels in 2011. The inverter, which converts all direct current (DC) to alternating current (AC) commonly used in homes, is produced by Solectria. Finally, the racking equipment necessary to mount the panels is manufactured by RBI. Customers can now buy local, reduce their environmental footprint and decrease their energy bill all at once!