Greenbank Farm to receive solar panel donations

Starting on July 1 the Greenbank Farm will receive solar panels from Island Community Solar, Glacier Energy and Whidbey Sun and Wind.

Port of Coupeville Executive Director Chris Michalopoulos said Cascade Energy’s agreement with Puget Sound Energy should transfer to the farm at the end of year.

He said having the panels donated to the farm means there is no cost to the port and all that needs to be done is a transfer of the power purchase agreements.

“Really right now it’s just paper, it’s just a transfer of those agreements to us,” Michalopoulos said

Michalopoulos said one of the benefits is that the farm will be able to sell some of the energy back to Puget Sound Energy at credit.

“For the next year we’re going to take advantage of a really good per kilowatt wholesale rate back to Puget Sound Energy which will give us some cash and some credit that can be applied to our utility bill,” Michalopoulos said.

He estimated the wholesale reduces the cost of electricity to about 2 cents per kilowatt.

Michalopoulos said he would like to see the solar panels completely cover the energy cost being used by Barn A of the farm.

Dean Enell, executive director of Island Community Solar, estimated that the solar panels have produced over 520 megawatts of electricity for the local grid.

Enell said the energy produced was enough to power 45 houses over the course of nine years.

But Enell said the most important benefit was the reduction on greenhouse gasses. He estimated that the solar panels have kept approximately 235 tons of greenhouse gasses of going into the atmosphere

Enell said it was always Island Community Solar’s plan to gift the solar panels one day, and while he said there were some doubts about whether or not a cloudy place like Whidbey would be able to produce enough solar energy the Greenbank Farm has shared a mutual interest in clean energy.

“The farm has been very supportive and a large reason why we did is to show solar power is reasonable,” Enell said.

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