Washington— Rural Business & Cooperative Service

Alternative Energy
Tumwater’s First Commercial Solar Project Funded With Help From USDA Energy Grant
Outline of Need: Sundodger Ventures, LLC, founder Rene Reis wanted to take advantage of renewable energy to reduce her operating costs in the 7,500 square foot building she owns in Tumwater, Thurston County. With the help of Puget Sound Energy and Thurston Energy, Reis was able to identify potential energy savings by upgrading existing lighting to T-8 florescent lighting. But she wanted to include a solar option for her roof after hearing a presentation by South Sound Solar at a local Rotary Club meeting. How Rural Development Helped: With the help of the Rural Energy for America Grant Program (REAP), Reis was able to save 25 percent of the cost for the $85,000 project. Reis contracted with South Sound Solar to design and install a 9.4 kW solar photovoltaic (PV) system consisting of a 48-panel solar array of “Made in Washington” panels and inverters. The Result: The commercial solar installation was the first of its kind in the rural community of Tumwater, Thurston County. The new solar array will produce about 10 percent savings in power, equating to over $5,800 annually. Reis’ energy efficiency investments are lowering her energy consumption, saving her money and stimulating the local economy. “There is still a perception that alternative energy and energy efficiency is cumbersome and expensive,” said Ries. “That’s not what I found thanks to state and federal tax incentives, grants, and Thurston Energy’s loan rate buy-backs that are currently available.” December 2012
Fairchild Record Search employee Fanny Sparling stands on one of the 48 “Made in Washington “ solar panels that are now on top of her building in Tumwater, Thurston County. The energy savings from this solar project equates to over $5,800 annually.

Fast Facts
Program: Renewable Energy for America Program (REAP) Investment: $20,000 REAP Grant Partners: Puget Sound Energy; Thurston Energy; South Sound Solar Congressional District: WA-10

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Demographics: Tumwater, Thurston County Population: 17,371 (2010 census)

Impact:  Over $5,800 in energy savings (renewable energy replaces energy used)  Investment and production tax credits realized  Payback on investment is approximately nine-years. Contact: carlotta.donisi@wa.usda.gov

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