Solar driving arrives in Everett, Wash.

everett-solarSnohomish County in Washington State began installing solar panels this week at its campus in Everett. The solar panels will supply electricity to the parking garage for the county’s future fleet of electric cars.

Nearly 100 panels, manufactured in Snohomish County by Arlington-based Silicon Energy, are being placed atop the county’s Administration West building, covering as much as 80 percent of the roof. Solis Electric, another local firm, is completing the installation.

“This project demonstrates the county’s commitment to supporting the development of green jobs locally,” said Snohomish County Executive Aaron Reardon. “It also shows our willingness to save energy and reduce greenhouse gases at county facilities.”

About $450,000 from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act will pay for the installation of the solar panels and vehicle-charging stations in the garage. Snohomish County currently owns two electric vehicles but will purchase about a dozen more within the next 12 to 18 months.

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The solar project – supported with incentives through the Snohomish County PUD’s Solar Express program – is part of a comprehensive program to save energy and reduce greenhouse gases at county facilities.

Once operational, the panels are expected to generate roughly 16,000 kilowatt hours annually, reducing grid-supplied electricity at the downtown campus. The power produced by the solar panels will be connected to the building’s electrical system, replacing some of the electricity used at the Snohomish County Administration Building.

Among the largest solar systems in Snohomish County, the solar project will prevent 21,000 pounds of CO2 annually.

Installation should be finished in about a month.

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