Living Green: Benton PUD's community solar program is shining br - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Living Green: Benton PUD's community solar program is shining bright

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KENNEWICK, WA - All month long we're living green, and today reporter Rex Carlin headed over to Benton PUD to check out the fairly new community solar program.

You can see the solar panels at Benton PUD as you drive by on US-395. Two years ago, Benton PUD set up the community solar program as a way for customers unable to set up solar panels on their own properties to invest in a centrally-located solar facility, with incentives available for customers who joined the program.

112 participants fully funded the project, which has reached its cap for incentives and new participants. Less than two years later, Program Manager James Dykes says the project has produced at a higher rate than what Benton PUD expected when the utility first started the project. 

"It's been great to have a resource like this, so that we can monitor and get some more data related to solar technology so we can kind of see the shaping," said Dykes. "What we've found is that we can easily predict how it produces on a monthly basis and on a daily basis."

Dykes says even though it was a rough winter with plenty of cloud cover, customers utilizing the program received hydro power from Benton PUD to offset the lack of solar power generated the past few months.

If you'd like to install your own solar panels, Benton PUD will still help you set it all just won't get an incentive.