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Want to know where your 'Blue Sky' contribution goes? Weed's Rec Department got some of it

Shareen Strauss
At the site that is still under construction, Weed Recreation and Parks Department board members and Dickens Electric Company personnel stand with Pacific Power Regional Business Manager Todd Andress (right) as he presents a check in the amount of $136,856 from the Pacific Power Blue Sky clean energy grant. The money is being used to install solar panels at the Weed Community Center to offset monthly heating and air costs.

The Weed Community Center is going solar. With hopes of having the project completed by December 15, the Weed Recreation and Parks District is having 120 solar panels installed in the vacant lot next to the Weed Community Center on East Lincoln Avenue.  

A grant through the Pacific Power Blue Sky Program in the amount of $136,856 “is what is making this happen,” said Director Kim Greene. 

The WRPD will be able to offset the cost of heating and air in their community building by 85%. 

“Any amount of savings will really help us,” says Greene. “WRPD is funded by some state taxes, memberships, and rentals in the Center but COVID is just killing us. We are currently paying $2,000 per month in electricity. This is a project that Measure M would have helped fund.” 

Jeff Dickens with Dickens Electric Company who has been installing solar panels for ten year said, “We are keeping the two arrays of solar panels lower to the ground so it won't be an eyesore for the residents in the area. It is engineered to sustain high winds at 120 miles per hour at a three second gust. We will be working towards fencing it in afterwards for anti-tampering. There will be underground wiring to a transformer.” 

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The WRPD is the only applicant in California to be awarded this grant. Blue Sky is an opt-in program that gives Pacific Power customers the option on their power bill to match all or part of their energy use with renewable energy. This reduces the carbon footprints and drives demand for new renewable energy and supports community-serving organizations such as the WRPD.  

“Pacific Power is what made this happen. The Blue Sky program is on everyone’s bill,” said Jeremy Allen, who also works with Dickens Electric Company. “It is a Federal program initiative to stay environmentally friendly. Customers can buy into it with just a couple dollars each month. It really makes a difference for our community organizations like our schools and libraries.” 

Pacific Power Regional Business Manager Todd Andres came out on Friday, Nov. 13,  to present the grant himself. 

“We’re happy to help communities like Weed. This is exactly like the properties we want to promote,” Andres said.