The Benton PUD is launching its second community solar project because of the high interest in its initial project.
This one will be installed in Prosser, although participants may live anywhere in the PUD service area.
The community projects allow customers to invest in solar power production and share in financial and environmental benefits even if they do not own property or do not have a good location to install solar panels.
When the public utility district announced in the spring it was selling 1,500 units in a solar project to be built at its Kennewick office, customer interest was high.
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The PUD received applications from 429 customers for 5,840 units. A random drawing was held, with 112 customers buying up to the limit of 40 units each.
Customers who applied for the first community solar project but whose names were not drawn for the first project may get a chance to buy into the second project.
It will be smaller because of a limit on state incentives, said Karen Miller, PUD spokeswoman. The Kennewick project was about 75 kilowatts, enough energy to power about six average homes, and the Prosser project is expected to be about 24 kilowatts.
It will be installed on land at the PUD’s Prosser office at 250 North Gap Road.
About 485 units are expect to be available for $250 each, the same price as the units in Kennewick. The full cost will be paid by those who purchase the units.
With the state production incentive of $1.08 per kilowatt hour through June 2020 and the energy generation credit, participants can expect a payback in three to four years, according to Benton PUD.
The units will be offered to those in the drawing for the Kennewick project until all are taken. Each applicant was assigned a number in that drawing and there will not be enough units for everyone that entered.
A bid is expected to be awarded for the equipment and its installation Oct. 13. About Oct. 26, customers who ranked high enough in the drawing will be sent participation agreements to consider signing.
The solar project could be producing power in December, Miller said. The initial project at its Kennewick office began operating July 1.
The Franklin PUD also has launched a community solar project. It is accepting applications until Oct. 16.