Tacoma Power awards grants to Tacoma Housing Authority & Bates Technical College for solar energy projects

Contributions from Evergreen Options program will support campus for homeless youth and bolster local educational institute

Tacoma Power announced the winners of its Evergreen Options Renewable Energy Project grant, awarding more than $90,000 in grants to two local organizations. The funding for these grants comes from Tacoma Power customers who voluntarily pay a small monthly fee to support local renewable energy projects like wind and solar. This year’s winners, the Tacoma Housing Authority and Bates Technical College, will use the funding to implement solar energy projects at their respective campuses in Tacoma.

“Thanks to the goodwill of local residents who have enrolled in this program, we’re excited to provide these new renewable opportunities – like rooftop solar panels – to organizations helping the community right here in our service territory,” said Chris Robinson, superintendent of Tacoma Power. “These projects complement the renewable hydroelectric power that makes up the majority of Tacoma Power’s electricity.”

The Tacoma Housing Authority will use the $50,000 grant to integrate solar panels into the Crisis Residential Center (CRC) at its new Arlington Drive Youth Campus, which will break ground in 2019. The CRC will be a twelve-bed facility to house, serve and save homeless youth ages 12 to 17. The CRC will be part of a larger campus that will also serve homeless young adults ages 18 to 24. The total capacity of the new solar energy system will be 21 kilowatts.

“We’re pleased to be awarded this grant for solar energy. It not only allows us to contribute to a greener and more sustainable future, it also saves us money,” said Michael Mirra, executive director of Tacoma Housing Authority. “Those savings will strengthen the services we can provide to homeless youth and young adults to give them a second chance at a reasonable adolescence and adulthood without exploitation, impoverishment, and fear. We’re grateful to Tacoma Power for helping us do that.”

The second grant recipient, Bates Technical College, is a two-year public institution that has been providing quality training and education to Tacoma/Pierce County for 80 years. The college is known for its commitment to helping students find family-wage level employment. The $41,500 renewable energy grant will allow the school to install solar lighting at its south campus parking lots, which will increase safety and support energy conservation. It is estimated that the project will produce 3,728 kilowatt hours of electricity per year.

“The South Campus hosts a number of instructional programs, including welding, carpentry, electrical construction and auto mechanics, among others,” said Bob Roehl, executive director of facilities and operations at Bates Technical College. “We are happy to be able to light up the parking lots with renewable energy generated on site.”

The winner of last year’s grant, Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium, used its $50,000 grant to help fund a solar project located in the Asian Forest Sanctuary area. The zoo anticipates its project will produce more than 26,000 kilowatt hours of electricity in the first year and save more than $200,000 over its 30-year lifetime.

The Evergreen Options program is available to all Tacoma Power customers. By paying a small additional monthly charge on their electric bill, customers support local renewable energy projects. Participants can choose a specific amount (minimum $3 per month) or a percentage of their electric use, up to 100 percent.

Visit MyTPU.org/Evergreen for more information about the Evergreen Options program.

About Tacoma Power

Tacoma Power serves almost 179,000 customers in Tacoma, University Place, Fircrest and portions of Fife, Lakewood, Federal Way, Steilacoom, Joint Base Lewis-McChord and other portions of Pierce County. The utility includes seven divisions: Generation, Transmission and Distribution, Power Management, Click! Network, Utility Technology Services, Reliability & Compliance, and Rates, Planning & Analysis. MyTPU.org/TacomaPower.

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