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San Juan County celebrates the completion of first solar project

Solar panels on top of the fairgrounds building

The public is invited to join San Juan County officials and community members in a celebration of the completion of its first solar project at 12 noon  Friday, July 22 at the fairgrounds. Attendees will learn about the solar project as well as other exciting infrastructure projects happening at the fairgrounds over the next year.

Two 105 x 41-foot multi-grid solar systems are now soaking up the sun atop the San Juan County Fairgrounds Main Exhibitors Building. Over their estimated 30-year lifespan, these panels are projected to produce over 4.5 million kilowatt hours (kWh) of energy and save the county over $700,000 in utility costs.

In the first year, the panels will generate more than double the annual usage of the fairground's facilities – roughly 158,000 kWh. This energy savings is roughly equivalent to offsetting CO2 emissions from 13 homes or charging 8,314,263 smartphones, according to the Environmental Protection Agency’s Greenhouse GasSolar panels on top of the fairgrounds building - up closeEquivalencies Calculator.

This project showcases the County’s long-term investment in renewable energy. After conducting a solar assessment in 2019, the County began dedicating funds for solar projects and the panels at the fairgrounds, which cost about $310,000, are the first to draw from these funds.

“This stewardship of public funds indicates the Council’s investment in green energy,” said councilwoman Christine Minney, District 1. “I’m excited to see this project lead the way for future renewable energy work.”   

San Juan County is proud to support local business and strengthen local partnerships when working towards green energy goals.

“This is a great example of a successful public-private partnership,” said San Juan County Facilities Director Greg Sawyer. “The County, school district, and OPALCO all worked together to make this project possible.”

San Juan Island receives about 240 days with sun per year, according to weatherandclimate.com, leaving the future of solar in San Juan County looking bright.

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