Catherine Olsen

Solar Power for City Hall

Catherine Olsen, Environmental & Sustainability Manager, 509.625.6968

Wednesday, December 12, 2018 at 4:24 p.m.

Solar Power for City Hall

The City of Spokane is taking another green energy step. The City is one of 60 organizations and businesses that will receive solar energy through the Avista Solar Select Program. The energy is being generated at a new solar array located in Lind, Wash., which is the largest solar array in the state.

The solar energy from this program is earmarked for City Hall. The program will provide about 1.3 million kWh of the 2.2 million kWh used at the building annually at the same cost as the City has previously paid.

“The City of Spokane is pleased to partner with Avista through the Solar Select Program, as we continue to seek out opportunities that are both environmentally and financially responsible,” says Spokane Mayor David Condon. “The City already is a net producer of renewable energy. We are excited to add even more clean energy to power City Hall.”

The City’s renewable energy generation surpasses its use of electricity, natural gas, and fuel combined. That’s particularly impressive when you consider our large fleet of fire trucks, police cars, snow plows, and garbage and recycling trucks. The City’s energy production includes hydropower at Upriver Dam and electricity from steam at the Waste to Energy Facility and the Riverside Park Water Reclamation Facility.

As part of the joint Mayor and City Council Strategic Plan, the City is working on efforts to put renewable energy resources to work in our community. And the City Council has adopted aspirational goals around the use of renewable energy for electricity in our community overall.

Earlier this year, Spokane and Urbanova, the community’s smart cities initiative, received a national award for its work on sustainable infrastructure solutions, including projects that save energy by dimming street lighting when traffic volumes reduce and a shared energy project that works to improve system efficiency and grid resiliency. Spokane was one of only 16 cities recognized by the global research and intelligence firm IDC as part of this awards program.

We’re also evaluating how to market the excess steam created at the Waste to Energy Facility in a way that would support a circular economy approach in that location.

The City has been working steadily over the last decade or more to reduce its energy consumption as part of work to be more sustainable and to reduce costs. Among other things, the City has completed a series of changes to more efficient lighting, motors, and pumps and has started a major conversion of its garbage fleet to compressed natural gas.

The Solar Select Program is a collaboration between Avista, Strata Solar, Washington Utilities and Transportation Committee, and the WSU Energy Program.

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