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Tacoma Power awards $50,000 grant to Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium for solar energy project

A grant from Tacoma Power will help fund a renewable energy boost at a building where tigers, tapirs, gibbons, and other zoo animals rest their heads. With funding provided by the utility’s Evergreen Options program, Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium will receive a $50,000 grant to help fund a solar energy project.

The grant will help the zoo purchase and install 86 solar energy panels on the roof of a building in the Asian Forest Sanctuary area. Projections show that the panels, made in Washington, will produce more than 26,000 kilowatt hours of electricity in the first year and save more than $200,000 over their 30-year lifetime.

“Tacoma Power wanted to find a way to further support the development of renewable resources in our community,” said Tacoma Power Superintendent Chris Robinson. “With money collected through Evergreen Options, our renewable energy choice program, we can offer grants to nonprofit and government organizations to build their own renewable energy projects. Evergreen Options participants voted and selected this year’s grant winner out of two outstanding finalists – University of Washington Tacoma and Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium. Both are worthy of the grant, but we have just one to give this year. ”

“We are elated that Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium’s solar panels project was chosen by Tacoma Public Utilities customers for this grant,” said Metro Parks Tacoma Board of Commissioners President Andrea Smith. “It highlights and strengthens the longtime partnership between the zoo and Tacoma Public Utilities to seek technologies and efficiencies that both conserve our Earth’s precious resources and cut operational costs,” she added. “It fits perfectly within Metro Parks Tacoma’s Environmental Sustainability Plan through which we work to improve community livability with minimal impact to the environment.”

Starting next year, Tacoma Power plans to offer two grants each year as long as funding allows. Nonprofits, schools and government organizations who are Evergreen Options participants in the utility’s service area can apply, and Evergreen Options customers will vote to select the winners.

The Evergreen Options program is available to all Tacoma Power customers. By paying an additional monthly charge on their electric bill, customers support local renewable energy projects. Participants can choose a specific amount (minimum $3 per month) or a percentage of their electric use, up to 100 percent.

Visit MyTPU.org/Evergreen for more information about the Evergreen Options program.

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