Orcas Power and Light Cooperative Community Solar Project
Huxley College of the Environment
Department or Program Affiliation
Department of Environmental Studies
The Orcas Power and Light Cooperative (OPALCO) reached out to its members about their interest in a community solar project. After deciding that there was enough interest, the utility asked solar installers to submit proposals for a ground-mounted solar array. Community solar provides an opportunity for more people to be involved in generating clean energy. OPALCO members can buy a portion of the whole array, and through virtual net metering, receive credits for the energy generated by their portion. While winters in the Pacific Northwest can be cloudy, energy generated during sunny summer days will be stored in a vanadium flow battery storage system for when it is needed. OPALCO has requested that a ground-mounted solar array be installed at their property on Decatur Island with up to 500 kW DC capacity. The panels will be purchased from Itek Energy, a solar manufacturing company based in Bellingham, WA, and barged in to the island from Anacortes, WA. Materials will then be transported about 1 mile south from the dock to the site. Construction will take place from approximately February through May of 2018. Due to likely negative impacts on the built and natural environment, an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) is needed. This report quantifies and assesses the significance of environmental impacts based on relevant research and information. In addition, this report offers possible alternative solutions to help reduce and mitigate negative impacts.
Environmental Impact Assessment
Subject – LCSH (for OAI)
Solar collectors--Environmental aspects--Washington (State)--Decatur Island; Solar energy--Environmental aspects--Washington (State)--Decatur Island; Environmental impact analysis--Washington (State)--Decatur Island
Decatur Island (Wash.)
Environmental impact statement
Western Washington University
Laninga, Tamara Jean
Copying of this document in whole or in part is allowable only for scholarly purposes. It is understood, however, that any copying or publication of this document for commercial purposes, or for financial gain, shall not be allowed without the author’s written permission.
Date Permissions signed
Anderson, Claire; Cañas, Rhea; Edmeade, Jendayi; Merrell, Elijah; and Rehwald, Alyssa, "OPALCO Community Solar Project" (2017). Huxley College Graduate and Undergraduate Publications. 78.