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State Grant Supports Solar Project at Port

The Port of Skagit has received a $205,342 state grant that will enable the port to install a solar photovoltaic system on one of its buildings in the Bayview Business Park. The port will match the state funding with $75,000 from its Opportune Capital Investment Fund.

This project will provide and install an on-site, grid-connected photovoltaic array at the port’s Building 11 to offset energy consumption from the electric grid. The total system capacity will be 35.75 kWp. The solar system designed and budgeted for the port project utilizes 130 Itek modules and five Solectria inverters. Itek modules are manufactured in Washington, and Solectria inverters soon will be made in the state as well.

Building 11 houses the Skagit Valley Malting company, which has evolved from a partnership involving the Washington State University Mount Vernon Research Center, Skagit County, private investors and the Port of Skagit.

Skagit Valley Malting has developed specialty equipment to malt barley for the craft beer and spirits industry. By growing specialty grains that are optimally suited for malting and thrive in our region’s unique climate, local farmers can realize increased profits from the rotation crops they grow to replenish the soils and break disease cycles.

“This will be a shining example of local economic development and cooperation,” said Steven Omdal, president of the Skagit Port Commission. “Solar energy grows the barley, and now solar energy will process it into world-class malt.”

The port’s solar project was one of 28 energy efficiency and solar grants awarded last week by the state Department of Commerce in its ongoing effort to help agencies reduce energy costs. The 2013 Legislature appropriated $25 million for energy efficiency and solar grants to higher education, local governments and state agencies, specifying at least $5 million for projects using Washington-manufactured systems, such as solar modules and inverters.

“Moving to more energy-efficient publicly owned built buildings, and towards cleaner, renewable energy sources is good for the environment and good for our economy,” said Commerce Director Brian Bonlender. “These grants support the Governor’s comprehensive climate action agenda and help spur growth and employment in our clean energy and energy efficiency sectors.”

If you are a reporter seeking information about the Port of Skagit, please call Andrew Entrikin, community outreach administrator, at 360-757-0011 or email andrew@portofskagit.com