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Buy a Ray of Sunshine

Stanley Florek is trying to get people to see the light.

His company, Fremont-based Tangerine Power, is looking to spark interest in “crowd-funded clean energy systems” — solar-panel arrays funded by local community members.

Florek is working on Tangerine’s first co-op project, a $40,000 solar-panel setup on the roof of the Frances Anderson Community Center in Edmonds.

To finance the solar system, Tangerine Power is selling interested parties $1,000 chunks of the project — Florek calls them SunSlices.

Once the system is running, the solar power will be paid for, and used by, the community center, replacing around $4,000 of traditional electricity purchases annually. Florek said the initial investment should be returned within 10 years, at a rate of about $100 a year per SunSlice.

Chris Herman, chairman of the group Sustainable Edmonds, initiated the partnership with Tangerine after looking into greener alternatives for city energy use. Sustainable Edmonds hopes to have all the necessary permits and agreements finalized by mid-February, he said.

The solar panels should last at least 30 years, Florek said. After the initial 10-year deal expires, investors could reach a new agreement with the city.

Florek and his team at 2-year-old Tangerine — CFO Andrew Boyd and Chief Customer Officer Marc Pollard — hope to facilitate more such deals.

Edmonds resident Carlo Voli was the first person to buy a SunSlice. Voli said that his interest in green power began with a few solar panels on his own roof to offset his energy usage. When he heard about Herman’s plans, he decided to invest in the co-op model, rather than adding more to his own system.

“The idea of combining renewable solar power with a cooperative model like this was extremely attractive,” he said.

PCC Natural Markets also pledged money for a SunSlice in the Edmonds project.

Although Tangerine won’t begin actively marketing the project until all of the arrangements with Edmonds are finalized, the Frances Anderson project has already raised $14,000 solely through word-of-mouth.

Voli said the chance to jump-start the effort was inspiring.

“I think it’s just a wonderful example that can be replicated by a lot of other cities and communities and organizations around the state,” he said.