Samish Tribal Government recognizes climate change and its impact on our environment. Samish is consistently looking at ways to reduce our carbon footprint that will help protect our natural resources and climate adaptation. In 2021, Samish Tribal Council adopted a five-year strategic plan which addresses some environment issues and sustainable infrastructure. Samish applied for and was awarded two grants to introduce "green power" to assist the Tribe in implementing strategic plan.
Samish's premier building is now contributing to a sustainable future. The Cannery is creating electricity with its 38,400-watt DC solar installation! (You can follow the impact of this project by clicking on this hyperlink to the monitoring platform). By adding electricity for the power grid, Samish is reducing the overall community need for electricity that may be created using fossil fuels.
Our hands go up to Puget Sound Energy who awarded us a Green Power grant and the Washington State Department of Commerce who awarded us a solar grant through its Energy Retrofits for Public Buildings program. With this creative blend of private and public funding, the entire installation was fully funded. Thanks to our contractor, Western Solar, for doing a great job. "And thank you to Samish Planner David Strich for researching about and seizing this opportunity for the Nation," said Samish Planning Director Jon Barrett.
The solar installation was installed from August 8-10, 2022 on both of the south-facing roofs. There are two solar arrays with a total of 80 QCell QPeak Duo XL-G10, 480-watt Photovoltaic modules (42 on the east side building, 38 on the west) linked together with three string inverters.
Learn more about solar:
Q: Wait! What do you mean adding electricity to the grid? Doesn't Samish now produce its own electricity?
A: For off-grid solar arrays, yes the electricity created on site is used on site. But for solar arrays installed in areas that are connected (like ours), the electricity produced goes into the overall power grid. Samish gets "paid" for this electricity by having it deducted against the overall usage. This is called Net Metering, which is a standard practice in Washington State.
Q: How much electricity is 38,400 watts of DC current?
A: It approximates one-third of the building's current electricity usage. This means that the overall electric bill will be reduced by one-third!
Q: What do these terms mean: panel, array, inverter, installation, project?
A: A Panel is a unit of many photoelectric cells that convert solar energy into electricity. An Array is a group of panels. An Inverter is the device in which DC current created by the array is converted into AC current for our use. We are using the term Installation to encompass the arrays and the inverters, the conduit and electrical work that is required to hook everything up to the electrical panel, and all of the skilled labor to put the pieces in the right places. We are using the term Project to include the entirety of the installation as well as the planning and efforts to apply for and acquire funding.
Q: I have more questions, who do I talk to?
A: Please contact David Strich, Samish Tribe Planner & Emergency Management Specialist.