The results are in, and the Port of Olympia's privately funded investment in solar energy has yielded positive results within the last fiscal year.
Using components locally manufactured in Marysville, the Port added 48 solar panels to the roof of its 76,000-square-foot marine terminal warehouse in 2011. The solar power system generated a total return of $5,581 for the Port since July 2012, exceeding the design goal of maximizing Puget Sound Energy’s energy harvesting incentive of $5,000.
In addition, the panels generated 9,687 KWh of electricity, reducing the Port’s energy costs by $581. Combined, the earnings provide a 5.5 percent return on the Port’s investment.
When the Port planned to replace the roof of the then 25 year-old warehouse in 2010, alternatives that would decrease operating costs and increase environmental benefits were a high priority. Energy efficient lighting had already been installed. The Port selected the PVC roof and the stainless steel gutters to reduce the impact on stormwater runoff to Budd Inlet.
The Port selected solar panels with a goal of making the warehouse close to energy neutral. The southern face of the warehouse roof is nearly perfectly aligned with the sun for solar installations, and the number of panels (48) installed provided the best return on the investment.