Established as The Skamokawa Eagle in 1891

Wahkiakum West goes solar

Wahkiakum West Communications has recently installed a solar array designed to produce 85 kilowatt hours of electric power. The system which went on line on Friday, May 10, 2024, is anticipated to meet 90 percent of the facility’s demand.

“With the help of the PUD we upgraded our lighting last winter,” noted Chief Executive Officer/General Manager Ken Johnson. “That reduced our energy demand for lighting, and we used that demand figure for gauging our solar needs to achieve a 90 percent reduction over the course of the year. When you figure in the USDA grant we received, tax credits for solar. federal tax savings derived from the infrastructure investment, and the monthly reduction in energy costs, we believe the solar system will pay for itself within a five-to-seven-year timeframe.”

With a ninety percent reduction penciling out to a monthly energy savings of approximately $700, a five-to-seven-year payoff results in a savings of $109,000 to $126,000 over the remaining 13 to 15 years of the expected 20-year life of the solar array.

With the system up and operating, Wahkiakum West will soon have access to a web tool that will allow them to view the system’s generating ability in real time.

Another recent addition at the facility is an electric vehicle charging station. While the company does not have an EV in its fleet, Johnson anticipates it will add one in the not-too-distant future. With more experience regarding the costs and benefits of operating the charging station, it’s possible the company could locate a public charging station on site or at a nearby location.


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