Community Solar

Our community solar project offers you a way to support local solar energy production without the large investment necessary to install a system at your home. We offered our first community solar project, four 75-kilowatt projects located at the TPU campus, in the winter of 2016. It sold out quickly. Participating customers were able to purchase a small portion of the project (a solar “unit”) that enabled them to receive an annual incentive payment, plus payment for the electricity produced by the project.

We hope to offer more community solar projects in the future, and will update you when new information is available.

Community Solar Estimated Payments

 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020  2021-2036 TOTAL
Estimated Value of Electricity at $.0405 per kilowatt hour  $.64** 1.33** $1.41** $1.20 $1.20  $18.36 $24.14
Estimated State Solar Incentives at $1.08 per kilowatt hour  $17.09** $35.48** $37.54**  $32.08  $31.92         – $154.11
Total Estimated Community Solar Payments $178.25

**Actual payment amounts

Real Time Solar Production

To see how much electricity the solar project is producing, view the following:

Watch the video below to learn more about our community solar project.

Community Solar Q&A

What is community solar?

Community solar makes it easy for you to support local renewable energy even if you cannot add rooftop solar to your own home. It allows the community to share the construction costs of solar electric systems as well as ongoing maintenance costs.

Our community solar program is based on a 2009 initiative from the Washington State Legislature that created the incentives paid by these projects. In 2018, the Legislature grandfathered these original incentive values, so even if the program changes in the future, all original participants will continue to collect the same incentives until the program ends in 2020.

Why did Tacoma Power build a community solar project?

We built a community solar project to help customers take advantage of state solar production incentives and to educate customers about solar electrical production in the Pacific Northwest. The project also helps us meet our commitment to using renewable energy sources whenever possible.

The electricity you buy from us comes from clean, renewable hydropower. In addition, nearly all the power we purchase from the Bonneville Power Administration is renewable as well. Community solar is one more form of renewable energy for our extensive portfolio.

Can solar power work in Tacoma?

Yes. Despite being a rainy climate, Tacoma and our region still offers potential for solar energy. However, because the sun shines much more in summer than winter, it would require a large and expensive system to generate enough electricity during the summer to last year round.

When do participants receive payments?

Participants receive incentive checks from Tacoma Power until 2020 when the program officially ends. Checks are mailed out in the fall.

How long will participants receive benefits from this project?

Participants will receive the state renewable incentive payments until the program ends in 2020. We will combine payments for the solar production in 2019-2020, and payment for solar electricity generated by solar unit(s) for the years 2021-2036, and include that in the last annual incentive payment in 2020.

Who can I contact if I have more questions?

To learn more about community solar, contact us at (253) 502-8363 or CommunitySolar@cityoftacoma.org.

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