In early 2015 Clark Public Utilities, which is the electrical provider to my home in Vancouver, Washington, proposed building their first solar array to supplement electricity provided to residential users from hydro and fossil fuel generation. Investment in the project was made open to residential electric customers at the cost of $100 per unit. Each unit would cover the purchase and installation cost of about 1/12th of one solar panel. The electricity generated will be fed to the grid along with other electrical generation sources used by Clark Public Utilities. The revenues from selling the electricity generated by the solar panels to the grid will be applied as a credit to the electric bill on the residential electric user investors. The expectation is that for many this may even eliminate any payment owed on their electric bill and will eventually even provide a small additional return to such participants on their original investment.
For photos and an article with more information about this project click here to visit www.columbian.com/news/2015/jun/17/community-solar-arrays-greet-the-sun/
Since our home in Vancouver is a condo, we are not at this time allowed to install solar panels on the roof of our own home. Hopefully that might change someday. Actually it would be nice if the entire condo association decided to put solar on the roofs throughout the condo development. I'm sure that would be enough to offset all the electrical needs of the common areas including parking lot lighting, the clubhouse, and probably even the heating of the community swimming pool and spa. There would probably still be enough left over to sell to the grid which could be used to reduce the monthly condo fee to the homeowners.
When we heard of Clark Public Utilities starting to build larger solar arrays which residential electrical users could invest in, we jumped at the opportunity. I really like the idea of our Tesla being "Sun Powered"! Right now our Tesla is only Sun Powered when we are spending time at our Vacation House in Southern California (or when we happen to charge up at one of the Tesla Supercharging locations that has solar panels). Our Southern California vacation home has 35 solar panels which is enough to generate on average more than 1,500 kWh of electricity per month. That is way more than enough to cover our monthly Tesla driving when we are there plus to considerably offset other electrical usage in the house.
My wife and I purchased 100 of these shares from Clark Public Utilities which covers the cost of about 100 X 1/12th panel which is about 8 solar panels. With the 4 miles round trip from our home to Downtown Vancouver or 20 miles round trip to Downtown Portland that we drive once in a while, these panels should pretty much cover the energy used by our battery when we are home in Vancouver, Washington.
If it turns out that this amount of investment in the Clark Public Utilities solar project is not enough to cover all of our electrical usage, we'd definitely be interested in adding to our number of shares when they open up the next phase of the project. However, 100 shares was the maximum they let any residential electric customer purchase in Phase One and I don't know if they will let existing investors purchase more units in the next phase of the project.