The key elements necessary for a 100% renewable grid in Oregon are being developed or are already in place. While we are not talking about 100% renewable grid by 2020, we are looking at approaching this goal by 2050-2075, which in the time frames of power system planning is “pretty soon”. This article is simply a “30,000 foot” introduction to this possibility.
The U.S. solar industry is lobbying Congress to extend a tax break that’s helped it more than double in size over the past two years. The Section 1603 Treasury Program, enacted in 2009, enables developers of renewable energy projects to receive a grant, in lieu of a tax credit, when their projects come on line. This program “has been the single most effective policy driving renewable energy growth during the past two years,” said Rhone Resch, president and CEO of the Solar Energy Industries Association. The program is scheduled to expire, however, at the end of this year. If Congress is serious about creating jobs—and supporting renewable energy—it should extend this break for another year, Resch said.
King Estate, the largest winery in Oregon, already harvests grapes and other fruits and vegetables on its 1,033-acre spread southwest of Eugene. In the next couple of months, it also will begin harvesting the sun. Construction has begun at King Estate on a $5 million to $6 million solar power system — the largest such system at a winery in the Northwest. Unlike the rooftop systems that have been installed in recent years at various Lane County businesses, this will be a solar farm on 4 acres. Its 4,144 solar panels have the potential to generate up to 973.84 kilowatts of electricity — enough to power 100 homes for a year, according to federal Environmental Protection Agency estimates.
The solar panels atop the Matthew Knight Arena and Moshofsky Center are part of a project to put solar installations on each of the state’s seven public university campuses. Work on the UO project, with an installed capacity of 1 megawatt, is expected to start later this year and be completed early next year. When the full project is built out, the campuses will have a solar system with a design capacity of almost 6 megawatts of energy. That would make it the largest system in Oregon and among the top five by a university system in the nation, said Bob Simonton, assistant vice chancellor for capital programs for the Oregon University System.
Gov. John Kitzhaber and other officials will gather in Salem next Wednesday to mark the opening of a new food processing facility set up to operate efficiently and provide space for growing food-related businesses. The initial tenants of the building, which was developed by Wildwood Inc., are Organic Fresh Fingers Inc. and Wandering Aengus Ciderworks
By now the financial, political, and emotional fallout from the recent Solyndra bankruptcy filing is running at full tilt. Print, online, and social media channels are filled with the appropriate questions about what happened -- who’s responsible, who’s accountable, and who’s going to pay for it? Incumbent energy providers, including coal and oil, along with many politicians are cynically rushing to tout this event as the beginning of the end for renewable energy, while others see Solyndra’s collapse as merely a singular event that is part of an inevitable macro-trend toward a 21st century clean economy.
Pacific Power is finalizing plans to develop its first solar farm in Oregon. Company President Patrick Reiten announced the project at the Go Green '11 conference in Portland on Tuesday. Bob Gravely is a spokesman for Pacific Power. He said the project would provide 2 megawatts of solar power to the company's energy mix.
The 234 solar panels that helped Portland State University’s (PSU’s) Lincoln Hall win a prestigious LEED Platinum certification were installed on the building’s roof in late September. Installation of the panels completed all the items the design and construction team used to gain 54 LEED points for the building – two more than the Platinum requirement. The U.S. Green Building Council granted Lincoln Hall the Platinum certification in June based on the design and construction plans.
The Obama administration's energy chief, facing increased pressure over the failure of solar panel maker Solyndra, defended on Saturday a loan guarantee program that has provided billions of dollars for solar energy and other renewable energy projects. Energy Secretary Steven Chu said a stimulus law program that expired Friday will help develop the world's largest wind farm in Oregon, several large solar power farms in California and Nevada, and the installation of solar panels on 750 rooftops in 28 states, among other projects. The loan program has become a rallying cry for critics of the Obama administration's green energy program after a California solar panel maker declared bankruptcy despite receiving a $528 million federal loan. The company, Solyndra LLC, has laid off its 1,100 workers.
Innovative ideas and the products that emerge from them were front and center Saturday at the Salem Green and Solar Fair at Pringle Creek Community's Village Center. About 50 turned out to take in the innovative ideas from varied groups such as Green Hammer, whose Stephen Aiguier was the featured speaker; Salem Harvest; Silverton's Gordon House; and Friends of Straub Environmental Learning Center.
In January of 2011, Gold Dust embarked on the Solar Initiative with the goal to install six solar power generating stations on various facilities in the Merrill-Malin area. With the help of Obsidian Financial and the Oregon Feed-In Tariff program, in August of that year all six solar stations had been installed and hooked up to the power grid – or “green tagged” – by Pacific Power and Light.
Solar manufacturers including a unit of SolarWorld AG (SWV) are preparing a U.S. trade complaint against China, as they seek to counter low-cost, subsidized imports, according to people familiar with the matter.The case, which would be filed at the Department of Commerce and the U.S. International Trade Commission in Washington, would be one of the largest targeting China, with political implications as both nations race to develop clean- energy technologies. The companies say that China’s subsidies to solar companies violate global trade rules and provide those manufacturers with an unfair advantage, according to the people, who spoke yesterday on condition of anonymity because no complaint has yet been filed.
In keeping with the city of Gresham’s efforts to position itself as a leader in the solar industry, city councilors have approved plans to build a solar array at City Hall. Using $470,000 in federal stimulus grants and a $124,000 grant from Energy Trust of Oregon, the array will have the potential to deliver about 93,000 kWh (kilo watt hour) of electricity a year – electricity that will fuel Gresham City Hall at 1333 N.W. Eastman Parkway.
When people think of Portland, OR, a city that receives approximately 40 inches of rainfall a year, they're not likely to think of solar energy research. But that's exactly what's happening under the direction of Portland State University Chemistry Professor Carl Wamser, who is quick to point out that Oregon receives more annual sunlight than Germany or Japan, the two countries leading the world in solar energy production. Wamser's group, co-led by PSU's Professor of Mechanical and Materials Engineering and Director of the Green Building Research Laboratory David Sailor and Assistant Professor in the Biology Department and Center for Life in Extreme Environments Todd Rosentiel, is looking into the effects of combining single-cell silicon photovoltaic (PV) solar panels with green roof technology. Wamser said that the idea came from other research he was doing to develop thin-film organic PV panels.
Azuray Technologies, an emerging leader in solar power optimization and monitoring, announced that it has been chosen by AlwaysOn as one of the GoingGreen Global 200 winners. Inclusion in the GoingGreen Global 200 signifies leadership amongst peers and game-changing products that are likely to disrupt existing markets and entrenched players. Azuray was specially selected by the global AlwaysOn editorial team and industry experts based on a set of five criteria: innovation, market potential, commercialization, stakeholder value, and media buzz.
Today the Economic Development Administration announced a $1.5 million grant to Portland State University, the city of Portland and the Oregon University System to help build the 130,000 square-foot Oregon Sustainability Center. The Sustainability Center is Portland’s grand “living building” project. It’s planned to blow green building standards out of the water with a triple net-zero rating: It would generate all its own power, release no carbon emissions and produce no waste.
The Oregon Department of Energy is seeking input on the new Energy Incentives Programs (formerly BETC), and Residential Energy Tax Credit program.
Solar Oregon Board Member Bruce Barney combines a PV system with an electric vehicle to get to Zero Net Energy for transportation.
Two new options that are shaking up Oregon’s solar industry and bringing solar power to a broader sector of people. Welcome to the new era of solar leasing and solar prepayments, which enable homeowners to reap the benefits of rooftop solar systems without owning the panels.
Portland City Council voted to revise some of the zoning regulations for rooftop solar energy systems that may have affected whether or not you could put solar photovoltaic or solar hot water panels on your home. These changes bring Portland into alignment with Oregon House Bill 3516, adopted a few months ago.