The Valley View Sewer District and Water District #125 were a bit before their time when they installed a six-panel 1kW solar pv system way back in 2006. Their environmentally conscious decisions continued in 2013 with the purchase of two systems to offset the electric bills of Valley View Sewer District and the Water Sewer District Condo Association created to manage their joint administration building built in 2006. Both the Water and Sewer district serve customers in the City of Tukwila and surrounding area.
First, Valley View Sewer District purchased a 40-panel 9.6 kW Itek Energy solar system that was installed on their new vehicle garage building located in Tukwila. Then the Water Sewer District Condo Association followed suit by purchasing a 120-panel SolarWorld, SMA 32.4 kW solar system.
The decision to go solar was based on a much higher rate of return against capital assets. Their current asset returns though a county investment pool was providing them a nominal return, so a return of 8.0% from solar made the most economical sense to them! Why invest in two very different solar systems? Washington-made solar products maxed their economic opportunities for state incentives which made it even more attractive to the Valley View Sewer District. While a cost-per-panel for out-of-state panels made more sense to the Water Sewer District Condo Assoc. given that the state incentive has a cap that is not always advantageous for larger systems. For the new garage building, their annual electricity consumption is much less than the Administrative building and thus an in-state system will offset nearly 15% of the facility’s annual kWh consumption and cap the states solar production incentive at $5,000 annually through mid 2020. These wise choices made for different systems fulfilling the solar goals of the Sewer District and the Condo Association. For the Administrative building the choice of an out-of-state system also allowed the capping of the solar production incentive at $5,000 through mid 2020 and also offset 18% of that facilities annual kWh consumption versus just a third of that if they had gone with an in-state system.
Why now? The State Sales tax exemption incentive expiration on June 30, 2013 and the ability to take advantage of the State Solar Production Incentive Program for longer encouraged these public agencies to go solar in 2013. Valley View Sewer District and the Water Sewer Condo Association also felt that their position needed to be forward thinking for future generations about how solar benefited their community.