Itek Energy Completes Employee-Owned Community Solar Project

Itek Energy, Washington’s leading manufacturer of solar photovoltaic (PV) modules, announced today the completion of its employee owned and installed community solar project located on the waterfront at the site of the old Georgia Pacific tissue plant. The project is a collaboration of itek Energy and the Port of Bellingham, which owns the land.

The 60kW system boasts 236 itek Energy solar modules and 8 Solectria inverters, all manufactured at the Bellingham factory, and voluntarily installed by itek Energy employees. Through the State’s Renewable Energy Production incentive, itek Energy employees will receive a yearly dividend for the solar energy produced for the life of the installation. Estimated annual energy production for the system is 60,000 – 70,000 kWh/year, enough to offset almost 37.5 tons of CO2 per year, and the equivalent of powering approximately 12 homes.

In addition to generating power, this system will be used for research and development to assist itek in improving solar PV module performance, durability and efficiency. The installation is on the banks of the Georgia Pacific Aerated Stabilization Basin, and can be viewed
from the new walkway that runs along the rim of the basin, off of Roeder and Hilton Avenues.

“This solar project will be connected to the PSE grid and is basically a mini-power plant that will help offset the energy usage of the nearby Technology Development Center utilizing clean, green energy harvested from the sun” said itek Founder and CEO, John Flanagan.

The project lead for the installation was itek’s own Dana Hickenbottom, who oversaw the installation and designed the system with support from itek associates Frank Choltco-Devlin and Karl Unterschuetz.

“During the design and installation process we strove to utilize as many existing materials from the site as possible to not only reduce costs but to give these materials a new life. We repurposed the stainless steel aeration pipes and angle iron to build a mounting structure for the solar panels and inverters. We harvested countless nuts and bolts from the site as well as reused existing AC wiring and cable trays. It was a very fun process to creatively design this system to repurpose all this great onsite material. “

“We also utilized local businesses for other materials and services.” Dana added. “The racking came from Sunmodo out of Vancouver, Washington, metal fabrication from Reinke’s Fabrication in Bellingham, fasteners from Hardware Sales right here in Bellingham, and recycled railroad ties from Ferndale. Ecotech Solar, one of Whatcom County’s leading solar installers, helped with the AC wiring, system commissioning and permitting.”

Source: Itek Energy/itekenergy.com