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The GiveOrcas Spring catalog runs May 2nd-16th – where YOU can donate to specific projects from local non-profits that will make a big difference in our community! Orcas Center is excited to be a part of this campaign and is seeking $25,000 from the community to help fund our
Solar Panel Project!

Orcas Center is situated in a prime location for generating solar electricity for our 10,000sf facility. Working with local experts, Rainshadow Solar, we’re installing solar panels this summer to help generate nearly half of our current energy use via solar power.

Help Orcas Center lead the charge (pun totally intended) to create a more sustainable, eco-friendly community center for current residents and generations to come.

Financial Information:

The total cost of Orcas Center’s Solar Panel Project is $159,858

Orcas Center has already applied and been awarded a PFFAP (Public Facilities Financing Assistance Program) Grant through San Juan County of $72,163

Through other fundraising initiatives, and from Orcas Center’s reserves (by board approval) Orcas Center will be securing $62,695

We ask you to help us fund the remaining $25,000 through the OICF Spring Catalog. That amounts to approximately 16% of our overall funding goal!

Technical Information:

  • Rainshadow Solar will be installing a 65.9 kW direct grid-tied photovoltaic (PV) system on the roof of the Orcas Center main building.
  • Future consideration of having panels installed on the warehouse roof is not included in this current project.
  • The project plans to install 150 SunPower 390-watt PV modules and Enphase iQ7+ microinverters installed on the roof of the building. These premium quality commercial modules offer high wattage per square foot and importantly, there is no central inverter. Each module has a small inverter that converts DC to AC on the roof. This minimizes the space needed inside the structure for PV-related equipment.
  • SunPower modules also carry the longest, most comprehensive warranty (25 years), including the best warranty against power degradation over time in the industry and the warranty is valid for installations next to salt water.
  • The productive lifetime of this PV array should exceed 3 decades.
  • Orcas Center will remain tied to the grid (we will not have batteries installed), and will be eligible for net-metering.
  • Net-metering means that if your array produces more electricity than you consume (common in summer months) then you earn credits ($0.0882/kWh) for the electricity you sent back to the grid. During a later month, if you consume more electricity than your array produces (common in winter months) then you retrieve those credits. Moreover, if it happens that you have produced more electricity than you consumed for the entire year, then OPALCO will send you a check for the excess production at the same solar rate ($0.0882/kWh).
  • Orcas Center is estimated a savings of over $500 each billing cycle, and over $138,000 during the life of the panels.


Ecological Information:

  • Solar Panels have a 25-40 year lifespan! That means the young islanders of today will still be reaping the benefits of Solar Power generation as they are having families of their own!
  • Solar Energy Helps our Marine Life: While our energy consumption will continue to increase (hellooo computers and cell phones and appliances and gadgets that require continual charging!) hydropower will likely decline due to renegotiated water treaties, drought, and pressure to help endangered Orcas and salmon. By choosing solar we help utilities meet increased demand with renewable energy production rather than natural gas or even coal power production. Thereby leaving other resources available for our precious wildlife!
  • Solar Energy allows Orcas Center to generate nearly half of our electricity through renewable means. Not only will this help cut costs – which can then be used to fund other programs and initiatives at the Center, but it also helps reduce reliance on mainland power.


From Chris Wolfe, co-owner of Rainshadow Solar:

“Orcas Center’s project will be one of the largest Solar Panel installation on Orcas Island! It is exciting to see our community come together and make renewable energy a priority.
By using the sun as a source of energy, we can reduce the need for hydroelectricity and our need to rely on the mainland for power. Generating our own power through a renewable source like solar helps increase our island resiliency and is the right direction to take for the future.
We commend the Orcas Center in taking a leadership role on sustainable energy – it’s wonderful to see the support our community has for this important project!”


By helping fund this project
you’re supporting the local economy!

Orcas Center is so excited to work with Rainshadow Solar – who has over 32 years of experience in Solar energy! Rainshadow has a staff of 10 employees and 7 electricians. By helping fund this project, you’re keeping islanders employed – from the design, shipping, and installation of this project!