The Northwest EcoBuilding Guild has selected Port of Olympia’s solar warehouse for the 2011 South Sound Solar Tour, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Oct. 1 at Port Plaza.

With the warehouse’s 48 solar panels, the port is now producing energy and receiving an immediate reduction in its Puget Sound Energy electric bill. A meter installed by PSE measures the power generated by the solar panels into the warehouse and the excess power that the port is sending to PSE’s grid. This allows the port to receive credit for electricity generated and not consumed by the warehouse.
The solar panels are intended to make the building energy-neutral and to make full use of PSE’s energy harvesting incentives. Under the port-PSE agreement, energy savings plus PSE’s energy harvesting incentive are expected to save the port about $5,600 per year. The total cost of the solar panel system was about $101,000 plus tax.

Previously, the port replaced the warehouse’s outdated interior lighting with a state-of-the-art, energy efficient, fluorescent lighting system combined with motion detectors. The solar panels build upon that project and are expected to more than offset the building’s energy consumption for interior lights, fire alarms and office heating. The additional energy produced will help offset the marine terminal’s net power consumption.

Port Plaza is in downtown Olympia on Budd Inlet between the north end of the Percival Landing boardwalk and the marine terminal. Click here for more information.