Image take from a drone December of 2010 on completion of Phase 4
The Ellensburg Renewable Energy Park was built between 2006 and 2013. The solar generating facility was the nations first Community Solar Project and was built in 4 phases totaling 110 kW of solar panels. Two different technologies of solar panels were used, polycrystalline on the left and thin film on the right to demonstrate the difference in output of the two types of panels. The $7.75 per watt cost of solar equipment when it was built was much higher than it is today. In 2015 the cost of solar components has dropped below $5.00 per watt for made in Washington components making solar more affordable to more people. In January 2015 Ellensburg City Council authorized Energy Services to proceed with a 194 kW expansion just east of the present systems. Total construction cost of $489,000 or $2.51/watt equates to about $0.12 per kWh power cost. The site is designed for an addition 194 kW and future expansions will continue to grow the Renewable Energy Park solar facilities.
Wind Turbines and the Smart Grid Demonstration Project
Several different types of small wind turbines were added to the Renewable Energy Park in 2011-12 as part of the Pacific Northwest Smart Grid Demonstration Project. They provided a test of different technologies to demonstrate to our customers what type potentially would perform the best. Unfortunately with a couple of exceptions the technology was not ready for mainstream deployment. When a tower failed, falling to the ground, the demonstration project became a safety hazard and all the wind turbines were removed. For more information see the Smart Grid Demonstration Project Completion Report