Mayor Bruce Bassett announced that the city has won a $25,000 Green Power Community Challenge grant from Puget Sound Energy on Monday at a city council meeting at City Hall.
Bassett said the grant will help pay for installation of a solar panel array at the Mercer Island Community & Event Center to save on energy costs over the long run.
"A heartfelt thanks to the many Mercer Island families who have stepped up to the Green Power Challenge and helped win this $25,000 PSE grant," said Bassett. "By switching to green power, you've done a good deed for your community and your planet."
PSE, the Island's sole electricity provider, pledged the grant in exchange for efforts by local officials to subscribe at least 650 local customers to its Green Power Fund.
According to PSE spokesperson Andy Wappler — a former Islander and MIHS graduate — said solar power is already working well in the Seattle area, with 1,100 solar panel owners in the PSE system.
The solar array will be a demonstration project of 15 solar panels with a capacity to generate three kilowatts, enough to provide a portion of the Community Center's electricity needs. The panels will be positioned somewhere on the roof that will have "good solar access".
"It's a great augment for our power grid," he said.
Several local businesses have also joined the Green Power Program, including Island Books, Stopksy's Delicatessen, Mercer Island Chamber of Commerce, Hair Excel, Studio 904, and Six Walls.
Mayor Bassett also added that if the Green Power Challenge will continue to run through year's end and PSE will increase the grant by $50 for each additional Green Power sign up — up to 100 sign ups — before December 31.
PSE has also pledged $10 per customer sign up to the school PTSA of their choice and the school with the most signups by the end of the year earns an additional $500 for their PTSA.
As of Sept. 25, Mercer Island High School's PTSA has raised the most, with 35 sign-ups, followed by West Mercer with 31, IMS with 18, Island Park with 16, Lakeridge with 15, and Crest with 9.