Community Solar project could be built this spring

Okanogan County PUD’s new logo for the new Community Solar Project.
Okanogan County PUD’s new logo for the new Community Solar Project.

OKANOGAN – Okanogan County PUD commissioners set the bill credit rate for the Sunny Okanogan Community Solar project at five cents per kilowatt-hour of production, applied to the bills of those who participate in the project, which could be built this spring.

The community solar project is working through permitting and gathering possible contractors on the small works roster.

PUD staff clarified that the project will not be built unless enough PUD customers choose to participate and fund the project up front. The total cost of the project, including ongoing maintenance, will be included in the upfront cost.

The project will be brought before commissioners for approval before proceeding with construction.

The bill credit rate is one method through which participants earn back the money they paid up front. They will receive the five-cent credit, along with a state 14-cent incentive, proportional to how much of the project they purchased. The credit rate was determined after staff researched what other utilities do and factoring in the average kilowatt-hour cost that Okanogan PUD residential customers actually pay.

More information is available on the PUD website.

In other business, the board:

  • Approved a contract with McMillen Jacobs Associates for Enloe Dam owner’s advisor services for 2020.
  • Assigned the same commissioner officer roles for 2020: Jerry Asmussen is president, Bill Colyar is vice president, Scott Vejraska is secretary.
  • Approved policies regarding legislative topics, directing lobbyist Jim Rowland and staff as they interact with legislators and other agencies during the 2020 session.
  • Heard from Director of Power Resources and Broadband Services Ron Gadeberg that wholesale power sales ended in 2019 at $1.9 million under budget, again due to extreme weather and market-related events in February and March. December was a better month, with higher sales than expected, but not enough to cover the deficit. Retail sales are not completed for 2019, but have been $755,206 under budgeted amounts to the end of November.
  • Heard a broadband report from Gadeberg that numbers continue to grow, with 3,061 connections off the PUD’s fiber network, including 2,580 wireless end users and 481 direct fiber end users.