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Solar panel dedication Apr. 18 at Farmers Market

Posted: April 17, 2009 10:02:51 AM PDT

A new demonstration solar power installation is shining a light on the City of Bellingham’s commitment to clean, renewable energy.  Saturday April 18 at 11:00 a.m., the public is invited to a ceremony at Depot Market Square to dedicate a 2.4 kilowatt solar electric power system recently installed on the roof of one of the parking sheds. The new system was awarded to the people of Bellingham by Puget Sound Energy. 

Mayor Dan Pike will be joined by Congressman Rick Larsen, Whatcom County Executive Pete Kremen and Kimberly Harris, Executive Vice President of Resources for Puget Sound Energy, to cut the ribbon and dedicate the new power to our future. 

Visitors to Bellingham Farmers Market and other events at Depot Market Square will learn about the functions and benefits of solar electric power as the panels provide clean energy to help offset a portion of the facility’s electricity use. The system is expected to generate more than 2,000 kilowatt-hours per year of renewable electricity. The panels, located on the roof of the north parking shed, are using Enphase inverters, which enable the system to maximize energy harvest at all times, even during variable light conditions.

Traditionally, challenges of harvesting solar energy such as shade, or dust and debris, allow the system to perform only as well as the weakest panel. “In the past, if a shadow fell on one panel, the entire system would function at reduced capacity,” said Heather Higgins-Aanes, City Environmental Programs Coordinator who worked closely with the project. “At Depot Market Square, each panel is connected to its own micro- inverter, so each can function independently. Enphase also provides us with extremely valuable and detailed monitoring capabilities.”  According to the Enphase web site, tests show systems using Enphase Micro-inverters increase energy harvest by as much as 25% over systems using traditional inverters.

The solar installation was funded by Puget Sound Energy’s (PSE) Green Power Program, and installed through a unique partnership with Ecotech Energy, who donated the labor. This project is part of both company’s cooperative efforts to raise awareness about, and promote the use of, renewable energy.

Installation of the 14 solar panels marks the completion of the second solar project in Bellingham funded by Puget Sound Energy. PSE donated the two solar power systems in recognition of the city being named the nation’s most successful Green Power Community by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Bellingham received that distinction at the conclusion of the “Green Power Community Challenge”, a six-month citywide campaign to promote the use of renewable energy in 2007.

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Media Contact:
Heather Higgins-Aanes
Bellingham Parks and Recreation Department
778-7155 or hhiggins@cob.org

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