SPOKANE VALLEY, Wash. - Avista Utilities is exploring solar energy in a big way, building a large solar field in Spokane Valley that could save you some money.
Avista says their future is looking bright and they certainly hope it stays that way. They will be harnessing the energy from the sun, and while solar power is no new concept, the way they are sharing savings with their customers is.
"The best way to describe it is, you know, if you own a panel and put it on your roof, it generates electricity and saves you money on your bill," Kelly Magalsky said.
But with Avista's Community Solar, all the panels will be centrally located here off North Barker Road near Trent. Instead of putting a solar panel on your own home, Community Solar brings together customers that will share one larger solar array. The electricity generated adds to Avista's electric grid. Subscribers receive state incentives and energy generation credits on their bill.
This is Avista's first venture into solar energy, a program they hope someday improves service for everyone.
"Solar is really taking off around the world and in the US, and this is one of our first endeavors into solar just to learn more about it, see how it works in the Inland Northwest and offer a program to our customers at the same time," Magalsky said.
Customers make an initial investment: A subscription to one solar panel is $1,400. That subscription lasts through June 2020. Avista estimates, on average, one panel could generate around $360 per year in energy savings and incentives, or a total of $1,800.
That wouldn't only cover the initial cost, but is estimated to give the subscriber a payback in under four years. For more information on Community Solar click here.
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