Vashon Island, Washington—Over the past few years, King County has been actively working to reduce their carbon footprint through switching several of their facilities over to 100% solar power. This has been possible through a combination of matching funds and competitively awarded grants from the Washington State Department of Commerce.
The switch began with several park facilities, including one of the largest solar photovoltaic systems installed in the State of Washington at the Weyerhaeuser King County Aquatic Center in Federal Way, Steve Cox Memorial Park in Seattle, and multiple projects at Marymoor Park in Redmond. Most recently, in partnership with the King County Waste Division, a 133,940 watt, 362-panel installation was completed on the Enumclaw Transfer Station.
With another award from the Washington Department of Commerce, the King County Waste Division is currently installing the largest solar project ever completed on Vashon Island at their Recycling and Transfer Station, with 149,480 watts of peak power. While all of the previous projects have been installed on existing rooftops, this project is taking advantage of the otherwise unbuildable open space surrounding the landfill and will feature a ground mounted system with 404 solar panels angled to optimize the system production in the wide open field.
Completed solar array at Vashon Recycling & Transfer Station
King County’s partner, Western Solar out of Bellingham, has been working through the wet spring conditions to install the system with as little ground disturbance as possible. Western Solar expects to complete the project in the next two weeks and have the system operational and saving the taxpayers of King County money just in time for the peak solar production season.
King County continues to pursue these opportunities with the hope of switching over all of their facilities to renewable power in the future.
For Vashon Island residents or visitors who wish to view the system, the project is visible on the hill just to the north of the landfill’s public drop off location.