Native teams earn power grants for photo voltaic panels | Native Information

Puget Sound Energy has announced $ 1 million in grants to help organizations transition to solar energy – and several organizations in Skagit County will benefit.

Skagit County’s boys and girls’ clubs, the Helping Hands Solutions Center, Camp Korey and Friendship House are among the 15 announced recipients.

Ron McHenry, CEO and President of Boys & Girls Clubs in Skagit County, said solar panels at the Sedro-Woolley clubhouse will allow the organization to save bills and spend the money elsewhere.

“We are very excited about this opportunity. This is good direction for our environment and lowers our operating costs. The Sedro Woolley building (electricity) costs 7,000 US dollars annually. That’s the cost of a part-time employee. Now we can turn that investment into program services. It’s better for the environment, better for the community, and improves the quality of the program – all at the same time, ”he said.

McHenry said the $ 100,000 grant will cover the cost of purchasing and installing the panels, which will have benefits beyond financial.

“It’s cool for our kids to see that. The more you get to know this type of technology, the more passionate advocates and users you will be in the future, ”he said.

The panels will be installed in April or May, McHenry said.

The panels for the Friendship House in Mount Vernon have already been installed in the facility’s café and are just waiting for a final inspection to be operational.

Friendship House executive director Tina Tate said the roughly $ 53,000 grant will give the shelter a necessary financial boost as the cafe has the facility’s largest utility bill – about $ 500 a month.

“Now we can put similar money back into serving meals and providing food,” said Tate. “It will be huge for us, especially when new projects come up.

“We are grateful to Puget Sound Energy. This shows that they care about their community and the nonprofits that want to do great work in times of struggle. “

The grants were awarded under Puget Sound Energy’s Green Power and Solar Choice programs. Puget Sound Energy announced that it will offer another competitive grant cycle this year.

Rebecca Larsen, executive director of the Helping Hands Solution Center, said the building was built with solar panels in mind and it is exciting to see this become a reality on Monday when installation is scheduled to begin.

“We feel good. We feel like we’re not only thinking about what the community can give us, but also what we can give the community, ”said Larsen.

She said the $ 100,000 grant will cover part of the installation, with the food bank seeking grants for some of the remaining costs.

Larsen said the panels could make the food bank more attractive to donors who would prefer their funds to be used for direct aid to the community rather than operating costs.

“Donors don’t want to pay for utilities. … It’s nice that we don’t have to pay for it for long, ”she said.

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