Environment, Community

Local nonprofit plans to install solar panels on museum roof

Project was inspired by the story of a hummingbird

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One day when a terrible fire broke out in a forest, all the animals fled their homes and ran away. As they came to safety at the edge of a stream, they stopped to watch the fire and they felt discouraged and powerless. The animals were all bemoaning the destruction of their homes when a little hummingbird flew out of the woods. It swooped into the stream and picked up a drop of water and dropped it on the fire. The other animals watched in disbelief. One asked, "What are you doing?" And the hummingbird looked back and said, "I am doing what I can." 

This story, as narrated by the celebrated Kenyan activist and Nobel Peace Prize winner Wangari Maathai, highlights how significant even the smallest act of goodwill can be.

Olympia Community Solar (OCS) is adapting that  “I am doing what I can” ideology to its upcoming venture, which is called The Hummingbird Project.  

In November of this year, OCS will install a 100-kilowatt solar array on the roof of the Hands On Children’s Museum in downtown Olympia. It plans to sell 800 solar units for $300 each.  Each year OCS will send buyers the value of their unit's electricity production. “Once the buyers are paid back for their units, the project will be donated to the museum,” said Jenna Mason, OCS’ media consultant, in a press release. 

The Hands On Children’s Museum plans to install a clean energy educational exhibit to teach children and their families about the benefits of solar energy. Mason projects that this exhibit could save the museum more than $500,000 in electricity bills over the course of 40 years. She also estimates the exhibit could prevent more than five million pounds of carbon dioxide emissions.

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