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Clallam PUD Initiates Proposal to Create a Community Solar-Powered Micro-grid Demonstration Project
January 16, 2019

The 1st quarter Hot Line customer newsletter is hitting mailboxes this week. In it, we announce a new community solar project for which we are almost ready to start selling units. While this is exciting in and of itself, the community solar is one of three components proposed as part of a greater demonstration project.

In October of 2018, the PUD announced that it had submitted an application to the Washington Department of Commerce (Commerce) proposing a community solar-powered electric vehicle charging micro-grid demonstration project. The proposal would be located at the District’s former Sequim Substation and office site at East Washington Street and Govan Avenue and would integrate a new 30-50 KW community solar generation system, two electric vehicle (EV) type 2 charging stations, as well as a distribution scale battery system. Each component of the project would be funded by its own innovative mechanism to minimize cost.

The electric vehicle charging stations would be funded by a joint partnership between the City of Sequim and Clallam County PUD, and would include two level 2 charging stations conveniently located in downtown Sequim within walking distance of retail and restaurant activities for tourist and locals alike.

The solar component would be funded as a community solar project. Participants would receive a credit on their bill, in proportion to their participation level, throughout the life of the solar installation, taking advantage of the financial incentives offered by the State of Washington. The micro-grid battery component would be financed by a matching grant provided by Commerce. The battery would be tied to the site’s fiber network controls and communication hut already located on the property. The community solar and micro-grid battery would be sufficiently sized to serve as the primary power source for the site’s fiber network control system which is an integral part of the regions broadband network, as well as provide power for the EV charging stations..

The District has long considered the best use for the property since the Sequim substation was initially identified to be decommissioned. An earlier 75 KW community solar project in 2016 was not built as 100% subscription to the project was not achieved. The smaller scale of this proposed project, along with the reduced costs of installation, creates an exciting opportunity to, partnerwith the community, state, and other local agencies to showcase innovative and renewable technologies, and adding resiliency to the electrical grid and local communications infrastructure. The PUD already has over 300 rooftop solar customers in the county and this demonstration project provides the ability for customers to participate in solar technology even if they do not have an ideal site or resources for their own rooftop solar installation.

Stay tuned for an announcement as soon as we are ready to start selling units of the community solar project!