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Community Environment News March 25, 2024

PUD Breaks Ground on Next Community Solar Project 

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PUD Breaks Ground on Next Community Solar Project 

Photo, left to right: Everett Economic Development Director Dan Eernissee, Everett Public Works Director Ryan Sass, Everett Government Affairs Director Jennifer Gregerson, Everett Council Member Paula Rhyne, Everett Council Member Liz Vogeli, Council Member Ben Zarlingo, PUD Commission President Sid Logan, PUD Commission Vice President Tanya Olson, PUD CEO/General Manager John Haarlow, Department of Commerce  Solar Section Supervisor Jill Eikenhorst, Connect to Casino Director Alvaro Guillen, PUD Program Manager Suzy Oversvee, PUD Assistant General Manager Customer and Energy Services John Hoffman

Money generated by the new project will be donated to help income-qualified customers 

Snohomish County PUD was joined Friday, March 22 by partners from the City of Everett, Connect to Casino Road, the Department of Commerce, and others, to officially break ground on its newest community solar project, “El Sol al Alcance de tus Manos” or “the sun at your fingertips.”

Construction will begin this month on the project that will be built in south Everett and generate funds that will assist PUD customers having trouble paying their bill.

Partially funded by the Washington Department of Commerce’s Clean Energy Fund (CEF), the south Everett solar project will be built adjacent to Walter E. Hall Park and will direct solar generation benefits to Project PRIDE, the PUD’s customer-funded income-qualified program that currently serves 500 customers annually.

“This project is a great example of how partnerships at the local, state and federal level can allow us to power more homes and businesses with clean energy and help our most vulnerable customers at the same time,” said John Haarlow, PUD CEO/General Manager. “We’re looking forward to completing construction this year and then gathering the community in summer of 2025 to celebrate.”

When completed, the solar array will have a capacity of 400 kilowatts DC, generating enough electricity to power approximately 30 homes.

Instead of selling energy units to customers, the PUD will donate funds generated by the new south Everett solar project to its Project PRIDE program. Project PRIDE, which is administered by St. Vincent de Paul, provides one-time grants for families and individuals who need help paying their energy bills. Project PRIDE will receive an estimated additional $22,000 in annual energy credits through the community solar project.

“Engaging community members in the project, including inspiring and selecting the name “El Sol al Alcance de tus Manos” has been a priority for the PUD,” said Suzy Oversvee,  Program Manager. “We hope that this project can serve as an example of how through partnerships we can increase access to the benefits of solar and other clean energy technologies for all community members.”

The PUD signed an agreement with the City of Everett to build the new community solar project Everett Water Utility property near Walter E. Hall Park in south Everett. Locating the solar array at this location will enhance energy resiliency in a dense urban community with heavily loaded electric circuits in the summer.

“Climate action is incredibly important to the City of Everett and we are proud to partner with the PUD on this great project that is both good for the environment and our community,” said Everett Mayor Cassie Franklin.

In helping site the solar array, the City of Everett has played a crucial role in facilitating connections with community members and working with the PUD to make improvements to the surrounding property to enhance nearby pedestrian paths and plant additional trees to mitigate those that must be removed to accommodate the solar panels. When the project is completed, art created by young people connected with the Casino Road neighborhood will adorn the fence and help integrate the project into the community. The PUD has hired three local artists, Yessica Marquez, Luisana Hernandez, and Ruben Trujillo to prepare the overall design of artwork for the fence.

The PUD was awarded a grant worth $878,037 under the Washington Clean Energy Fund 3 Low-Income Community Solar Deployment Program to help pay for the project. Washington State’s Clean Energy Fund is managed by the Washington State Department of Commerce, which supports the development, demonstration and deployment of clean energy technology.

The cost to build the project is approximately $2.2 million. The PUD is pursuing additional state and federal tax incentives available for low-income community solar projects.

For more information, visit