Living Green: Going solar could promote job growth and lower you - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Living Green: Going solar could promote job growth and lower your power bill

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YAKIMA, WA - One great thing about living in eastern Washington is that it's the sunniest part of the state, and one church in Yakima is taking advantage of it. Wesley United Methodist church strives to serve the community, but today they're able to do a lot more because of their solar panels.

"Our own installation started out as a self-funded project of a small number of panels,"said Russell Maier, a member of Wesley United Methodist.

Now the church has 56 panels, and it's all thanks to a grant from Pacific Power. The church saves about $200 a month, allowing them to put the money back into the ministry of helping the Yakima community.

"Use time on the weekends to make meals for the kids in the backpacks program," Maier said. "We work to make meals for the homeless through the winter months. We have to maintain our recycling center." 

Solar panels are increasing in popularity, but state businesses are not the only ones benefiting...so are homeowners.

"You can significantly lower your power bill depending on your budget and your space to how much solar you can install," said Carol Mills with Yakima Solar. "If you have the space and the funds, you can actually eliminate your power bill."

According to "Environment Washington", more than 13,000 homes and businesses in the state are running on solar power. Last year, the number of solar employees rose 26 percent just in eastern Washington.

"We need leaders not only at the state level, but also at the local level in order to move the ball forward and really make solar an entrenched part of our community," said Sarah Lukins with Environment Washington.

There is a bill in state legislature right now to expand the use of state incentives so people can go solar, but Environment Washington says that bill is stuck in committee.

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