SNAP ends year with five new producers
Note: An earlier version of this story provided an incorrect figure for the number of new producers. The error has been corrected in this version.
Chelan County PUD’s SNAP program added five new private producers in 2011 — the most in any one year since SNAP began in 2001.
The PUD operates three hydropower projects so already is into renewable hydropower in a big way. SNAP — short for Sustainable Natural Alternative Power – focuses on small-scale solar and wind power.
A total of 47 schools, nonprofit agencies and individuals are producing power for the PUD through SNAP. Five new private producers joined the program in 2011: John Alt of Entiat, Dennis Vogt of Chelan, Regge Egger of Plain, Lauren Johnson and Barbara Rossing of Leavenworth, and Shlomo Freiman and Mindy Stern, who have a summer home in Cashmere. The five are generating solar with rooftop and pole-mounted systems; together they added 22 kilowatts of capacity to the SNAP program.
Three of the four new producers are using solar modules and inverters manufactured in Washington state, making them eligible for the highest payouts available through the state’s renewable incentive program. Taking advantage of the state program, in addition to SNAP, brings an earlier payback and helps make the investment in solar equipment more cost-effective.
While state payments come from the state’s utility tax fund, SNAP payments come from green-minded PUD customers who want to see new renewable resources developed. In the 2010-11 production year, customers contributed $25,506 to SNAP.
There’s a place on the electric bill where customers can sign up to support SNAP in any amount. There’s also a spot on the PUD website where customers can sign up.
In 2010-11, producers generated 117,792 kilowatt hours of electricity. To put that in perspective, that’s the average annual use of about six homes in Chelan County. “While that’s not a lot of power, that’s really not the point of the program,” said Susan Gillin, SNAP coordinator. “The point is to plant the seeds for a future resource that, as time goes by, will become more and more viable.”