Learn More (FAQs)

Why sign-up for Planet Power?

Planet Power supports local small-scale solar projects on buildings such as schools, libraries, city halls, and other community sites where customers can learn about solar and see the technology in use.

YOU CAN MAKE A MEANINGFUL DIFFERENCE in your community by helping to create local green jobs and new renewable energy. The Planet Power program allows you to take action on your environmental commitment.

As part of its strategic plan for meeting future customer demand, the PUD is increasingly looking to environmentally friendly energy sources including tidal power, biomass, biogas, geothermal energy, wind and solar power. The PUD believes that the development of local, small scale renewable electric generation is an integral part of developing and promoting green power in its service territory.

The Planet Power program is funded by customer contributions and administered by the PUD to provide grants to carefully selected sites in the PUD service area that offer community access and good potential for generating electricity from environmentally friendly resources. Customers that contribute to Planet Power are supporting power resources that are:

  • Local – sites awarded grants must be within Snohomish County or Camano Island
  • Renewable – power is sustainable and environmentally friendly
  • Meaningful – make a difference in your community
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What is the Planet Power program?

Planet Power is a voluntary program that allows Snohomish PUD customers to support small-scale renewable projects in Snohomish County beyond what is already being done by the PUD.

How does the program work?

Contributions to Planet Power can be made in any amount on a one-time basis or every month. This cost is in addition to your normal electric bill. There’s no maximum limit to the amount a customer contributes (minimum limits: $3 per month or $15 one-time). You can sign up or discontinue at any time.

When enough funds accumulate, Snohomish PUD will send out a Request for Proposal to interested parties to submit ideas for small-scale renewable energy projects located in Snohomish County. After receiving the proposals, they will be ranked so that the projects selected to receive Planet Power grants will best serve the goals of the program.

What types of projects are funded by Planet Power?

The Mountlake Terrace Park & Ride lot on 236th, which opened in February 2009, is a fine example of Planet Power dollars put to good use. This 5-kilowatt photovoltaic (PV) system received a grant from the Planet Power program and reflects our community's commitment to sustainable living,

The system is grid-tied, which means the energy it produces is delivered into the overall energy pool from which all Snohomish County residents draw power. The Park & Ride's meter credits the energy it creates and deducts the energy it uses. If the panels generate more power than the facility needs, that extra power will be available on the grid to be used by others. As more sources of renewable energy such as this feed power into the grid, less non-renewable sources will be needed.

What is "renewable" power?

Power generated from sources such as wind, solar, geothermal, biomass, and low-impact hydroelectric resources. These resources are considered better for the environment than fossil fuels because they produce few, if any, pollutants and are replaced relatively quickly by natural processes.

How does Planet Power benefit the environment?

Purchasing Planet Power has direct impact on the Northwest’s environment. Every dollar contributed to Planet Power goes directly to operate the program, educate the community, and increase the level of energy that is produced from new renewable resources. Furthermore, your Planet Power contribution encourages more investment in renewable energy, helping reduce costs over time. As we increase the diversity of energy resources in our power supply, this also helps stabilize future energy prices here in the Northwest.

Are there any other benefits to increasing the demand for green power?

Yes. There are benefits to the local economy as Planet Power only supports projects in the PUD service area. The development of these projects translates into new green jobs for development, operations and maintenance of these systems.

How does a customer enroll?

There are several ways to enroll. Customers can fill out an enrollment form that is included in a program brochure and occasionally, an insert included with their billing statements. Customers can also enroll online (click here). They can also call the Energy Hotline at 425-783-1700 or enroll at any local PUD office. Note: It may take more than one billing cycle for Planet Power to show up on a customer’s bill.

Can my business participate?

Yes! By participating, your company can demonstrate to existing and potential customers that your organization does take concrete steps to support the environment and encourage renewable energy development. A growing number of customers who make purchase decisions, in part based on their desire to support socially responsible companies, will be attracted to organizations that buy energy that is better for the environment. Purchasing Planet Power provides a new way for businesses to influence the source of power that will be produced in the future to replace the power they use today.

Why does green power cost more?

As new sources of renewable energy are being developed – from wind, solar, biomass and other sources – they’ve typically been more expensive than traditional sources, such as coal or gas-fired facilities. This is due to the comparably higher construction and equipment costs when compared to traditional sources. These are relatively new technologies that are still evolving. It is quite normal that new technologies start out costing more in the beginning of their development. However, their costs have decreased in recent years. And while renewable power is more expensive, its use helps protect our environment by reducing the impacts of more harmful energy sources.

How do I determine how much Planet Power to buy?

Other than the $3 per month minimum or the one-time donation of $15, the program does not require any set amount be purchased. You are free to choose any amount you wish.

How will Planet Power enrollment show up on a customer's bill?

It will be noted on a customer's bill as:

Service: Optional Services Planet Power SCHED81-M
Frequency Proration Factor:
Schedule Proration Factor:
Service Dates:
Days in Billing Period:
Service Charge: ___ Per Month x Frequency Proration Factor x Schedule Proration Factor = _____

Will this program affect customers who don't enroll?

This program is fully self-sustained through the enrollment of program participants. Those that choose not to participate will see no changes to their electrical service or rates as a result of the Planet Power program.

How is the Planet Power money used?

Every dollar contributed to Planet Power goes directly to operate the program, educate the community, and increase the level of energy that is produced from new renewable resources. Washington state law requires us to make this program self-sustaining so those customers who don’t participate see no impact to their rates; therefore, program revenues must cover the costs for the new generation sources developed as well as the operating costs of the program. These operating costs include all expenses for enrolling new customers, reporting results to participants and the Legislature, and program management.

What if I want to change or cancel my participation?

Simply call the Customer Service Department at 425-783-1000, Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., and one of our customer service representatives will take care of your request.

How do I know what's happening with the program?

At least annually, the PUD will send you a newsletter that reports the contribution rates (cost per kWh) for the resources built. We’ll also inform you of all the latest developments with the program and the industry. The PUD also regularly updates the news media whenever there are newsworthy developments. You can also visit our Web site to see the latest press releases.

How can I ensure that this program is doing what it says it's going to do?

We are obligated to report on the program’s progress annually to the state Legislature. The results of our program, along with those of other utilities in the state, are summarized in reports at the Washington State Department of Commerce website: Green Power Programs in Washington (click here to view).

Energy Hotline:

425-783-1700
(M-F, 8am to 5pm)

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