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Silicon Energy supplies solar panels for county project

Phallin Luy assembles components for Silicon Energy
Phallin Luy assembles components for Silicon Energy's solar panels May 20.
— image credit: Kirk Boxleitner

ARLINGTON — Before it finalizes its move to Marysville in mid-June, Silicon Energy of Arlington has already helped Snohomish County go a bit greener.

It only took Silicon Energy less than two weeks to manufacture nearly 100 solar panels for Solis Electric, which has a contract with the county to install the panels atop the county's Administration West building in Everett, covering as much as 80 percent of its roof. The installation should be finished within a month.

"Basically, almost as soon as they were ordered, we were saying, 'Okay, you can pick them up now,'" laughed Gary Shaver, president and CEO of Silicon Energy.

The solar panels will supply electricity to the parking garage for the county's future fleet of electric cars.

"We already know that solar energy is good for residential and commercial buildings," Shaver said. "It becomes even better when we can use it to replace gas and oil. Electric cars are very efficient, and a move like this this makes solar energy even more affordable. Not only does it make economic sense, but it also serves our national security interests by displacing our need for foreign oil and supporting our businesses here at home."

Shaver touted such solar-charged electric cars as a means for the cars' owners to become "self-sustaining fuel stations" by collecting solar energy during the day to charge their cars at night.

"This is a great demonstration of how solar energy is creating jobs locally, helping us avoid importing oil and reducing our emissions," Shaver said. "I'm pleased the county chose us."

Approximately $450,000 from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act will pay for the installation of the solar panels and vehicle-charging stations in the garage. Snohomish County currently owns two electric vehicles but will purchase close to a dozen more within the next 12-18 months.

Once operational, the panels are expected to generate roughly 16,000 kilowatt hours annually, reducing grid-supplied electricity at the Everett campus. The power produced by the solar panels will be connected to the building's electrical system, replacing some of the electricity used at the Snohomish County Administration Building.

The solar project is supported with incentives through the Snohomish County PUD's Solar Express program and is part of a comprehensive program to save energy and reduce greenhouse gases at county facilities.

"This project demonstrates the county's commitment to supporting the development of green jobs locally," Snohomish County Executive Aaron Reardon said. "It also shows our willingness to save energy and reduce greenhouse gases at county facilities."

Silicon Energy's website is www.silicon-energy.com.

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