Flathead Electric Cooperative encourages members to participate in Phase II of their Community Solar Project
Advancing its commitment to the generation of clean, alternative energy, Flathead Electric Co-op has launched Phase II of their Community Solar Project. Phase I, trademarked the SUN (Solar Utility Network), was introduced in 2015 in response to members who had expressed the desire for a local opportunity to invest in solar energy; and to further expand FEC’s responsibility in having a diversified renewable energy portfolio.
Interested Co-op members purchase panels in a solar array, which captures energy created by the sun. That energy is transferred to the electrical grid and distributed back to participating members. Panel owners then receive bill credits for the energy created by their panel.
Community Solar Phase II is made up of 198 solar panels located on a Co-op building, just west of the Kalispell office. Panels cost $750 each and can be paid in full or as 12 monthly installments of $62.50. Each solar panel has a rated output of 345 watts and is projected to produce 373 kilowatt hours (kWh) of electricity annually.
Instead of putting a complete solar system on their own home (which requires home ownership, the right sunny location, and a fairly large upfront investment), this program lets people come together to build one larger solar array. Participants benefit through economies of scale, better siting, and the opportunity to take part at a much lower entry cost level.
Besides construction of Montana’s first community solar array, FEC is hailed as a leader in the energy industry, having also installed the state’s first landfill gas-to-energy facility and Chargepoint electric vehicle charging station; assisting in the construction of a biomass electricity and steam plant at Stoltze Land and Lumber, hydropower plants in both Whitefish and Libby, and other innovative projects that look toward the future. Although Flathead Electric receives the bulk of its energy from clean, reliable hydropower, the board and management of the Co-op feel it’s important to continue to explore projects that are affordable and make sense for their members in Northwest Montana.
To purchase a panel, please call 406-751-1875 or apply online.