Stock photo, Metro Creative Graphics

Stock photo, Metro Creative Graphics

State awards grant for solar panels at Kent Senior Center

Grant will be for first solar installation at a city-owned facility

Kent will get its first solar installation at a city facility after the state Department of Commerce awarded an $84,760 grant to fund the project at the city’s Kent Senior Activity Center.

The state Department of Commerce announced $1.4 million in grants to state and local government agencies to install solar panels at public buildings in communities throughout the state, according to a Sept. 13 news release. The 14 projects awarded funding in this round will support community efforts to move toward sustainable energy sources and result in long-term energy cost savings that can be reallocated to other needs.

“We’re excited to be bringing sustainable solutions to one of our most widely used public buildings in the city,” said Will Moore, city facilities superintendent, in an email. “This is the first solar installation at a city facility, and locating it at our busy Kent Senior Activity Center, right downtown will give it good visibility as we lead the way in bringing sustainable building solutions to Kent.”

The system is expected to save the city about 25% in utility costs at the Senior Center, Moore said. The Senior Center is at 600 E. Smith St.

“We will be moving forward with the contracting and planning process for this project and our preliminary timeline has final completion by early 2024,” Moore said.

King County received $70,000 to install solar at the Bow Lake Transfer Station, 18800 Orilla Road S., east of Interstate 5 and just west of Kent atop the valley.

This program provides competitive funding to install solar at public buildings and facilities, helping to cut energy costs, reduce pollution and showcase solar in communities across the state, according to the Department of Commerce news release. The built environment is the second biggest source of greenhouse gas emissions, behind transportation. These grants will fund distributed clean energy for schools, affordable housing and critical public facilities in Washington communities.

The city of Sequim received a grant in 2020 that enabled installation of 132 solar panels on the Civic Center roof, saving an estimated $3,700 annually and reducing the building’s carbon footprint by nearly 22 tons of greenhouse gas emissions per year, according to the state.

Applications are now closed for this state grant program. A new program to install solar and energy storage at community buildings will open in the winter winter.

New roof at Senior Center

Prior to the solar installation, the Kent Senior Center will receive a new roof. The project is scheduled to begin in October, Moore said.

The Kent City Council in June approved a $421,958 contract with Kent-based Signature Roof Service to install the new roof. Signature Roof Service submitted the only bid for the project to the city.

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