The mole people of Cascadia began emerging this week, squinting at the bright sun and providing some climate relief by increasing Earth’s albedo as they exposed their pasty skin. And just as the sun began to peep out, I got my first loan repayment check from the Winthrop Community Solar Project!
Methow Valley community energy goddess Ellen Lamiman spearheaded the project, which attracted 49 investors to finance a 22.8 KW system near the Okanogan Valley Electric Co-op. The project is going gangbusters, producing enough energy to deliver a 40% ROI by the time the project transfers ownership to the town of Winthrop in 2020.
This past year we’ve seen the most concerted, lavishly-funded attack on clean energy ever. I guess that means we’ve arrived; clean energy is posing a legitimate threat to fossil fuel dependence-as-usual. But I don’t think there’s enough money in the world to convince people that accelerating the transition to clean energy is a bad idea. Not as long as the sun shines and we have people like Ellen building a local culture of responsibility for climate solutions.
Our friends at NW SEED have a terrific Community Solar Guide for the Northwest. Check it out here, and let it shine.