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.
Green building has reached office buildings, airports, homes, churches -- and now, a gas station. In Beaverton, Ore., a redeveloped Chevron station opened today that touts a green roof, solar panels, geothermal power and bio-diesel fuel.
Data center operator BendBroadband Vault (www.bendbroadbandvault.com) announced on Friday it has recently opened 30,000 square-foot BendBroadband Vault in Central Oregon is substantiating its claims for extreme energy efficiency, slashing energy consumption by an estimated 600kW compared to standard data centers. The company partnered with Sunlight Solar and Advanced Energy PV Powered to create a truly sustainable facility, which opened in April.
One Block off the Grid, the San Francisco startup that offers Groupon-style discounts for solar panel installations, put together an infographic to debunk the commonly held belief that the renewable energy source only works in sunny states like California and Arizona. 1BOG offers evidence — and anecdotal quips — that even famously cloudy locales can become a leading solar city. For example, Portland has three times the number of residential solar installation as most cities.
Federal energy officials recently awarded Bend-based Advanced Energy Industries Solar Energy Business Unit $3.1 million and SolarWold of Hillsboro $4.6 million for their ongoing research to better integrate solar-power systems with utilities.
Senator Ron Wyden asked President Barack Obama to investigate imports of solar panels from China in a bid to help U.S. producers compete with a flood of imports. Without that support from Obama, the domestic U.S. industry may be put out of business by Chinese companies benefiting from unfair government subsidies. Read more: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/g/a/2011/09/08/bloomberg1376-LR7UZR6JTSE801-2G6P1TPRO4B6D5MUPL41O30LJA.DTL#ixzz1XTib9Oby
Solyndra's recent bankruptcy, on the heels of similar action by two other U.S.-based solar panel manufacturers, is seen as a major blow to U.S. efforts to become a leader in clean energy development. China now has three-fifths of the world's solar panel production capacity. What is more, Solyndra received $535 million in loan guarantees from the U.S. government. In the era of monumental government debt, critics cite this as a prime example of government waste; however, such a depiction would be a gross misrepresentation of the loan guarantee program. In fact, the federal government should accelerate its efforts and do more to develop and support clean energy and greater energy efficiencies.
Solar Oregon professional member, SolarCity, is undertaking the United States’s largest residential solar project, a $1 billion, 371-megawatt program to put 160,000 photovoltaic installations on privately owned military housing and other structures in 33 states. If built out, the five-year project, dubbed SolarStrong, would double the number of solar installations in the U.S. The project is being financed by Bank of America Merrill Lynch and USRG Renewable Finance and underwritten with a partial $344 million federal loan guarantee.
Oregon is in the midst of a drastic shift in its solar strategy, only you wouldn't notice it based on recent news. The state in late August launched efforts on two big, highly visible projects -- one just off a major highway and the other across parts of its university system. But those projects were widely funded by money locked in long ago from the all-but-extinct Business Energy Tax Credit (BETC), which was essentially defunded during the state’s last biennium budget. The two projects launched in Oregon got in under the wire, but they may also serve another purpose. Their visibility could be seen as a daily reminder of the communal and economic power of large-scale solar. That, in turn, may help build public support once the next two-year budget begins to take shape.
U.S. Energy Secretary Stephen Chu came to Portland Wednesday and while he was in town to promote engineering education, he also got a chance to talk about what he sees as the next great space race: sustainability. A sense of urgency is needed now as the U.S. competes with the rest of the world — most notably China — for leadership in clean energy.
A list of frequently asked questions ranging from federal and state tax credits to LEED building standards.
Energy Trust of Oregon is helping commercial and industrial customers who may be impacted by changes to state energy tax credits by providing bonus cash incentives for qualified lighting upgrades and custom capital energy efficiency improvements. To be eligible for these bonus incentives, a project must be enrolled with Energy Trust September 1 or later and be completed by December 15, 2011.
A North Portland community center is on its way to being the first certified "Living Building" in the state and one of only a handful in the world. At first glance the June Key Delta Community Center may look just like any other modern building. But the structure is actually just a few solar panels away from being totally self-sustaining.
SoloPower will lease a 225,250-square-foot building in the Rivergate Industrial District in North Portland. The facility will produce flexible solar panels and will initially employ 170 workers. At full build-out, after $340 million in planned investment, it will employ 500.
Western states could generate big economic and public health dividends by more aggressively pursuing a low-carbon, clean-energy strategy that relies on renewable energy, conservation and smart grid technologies, according to a new report from the Grid West Group. The report looks out 40 years and compares the economic, environmental and public health outcomes in 2050 of two electricity industry trajectories. The "business-as-usual" approach continues heavy investment in cleaner coal and natural gas plants, while a "clean energy vision" relies on efficiency, distributed renewable generation and an upgraded electrical grid. And not surprisingly, it concludes the clean way is the right way, one that would create bigger economic opportunities, more jobs, greater energy security and improved public health.
The roof of the 12-foot-tall steel canopy, built by EV4 Oregon, is covered with solar cells that generate power for a pair of ECOtality Blink Level 2 electric-vehicle chargers at the base. The facility is connected to the electrical grid, so any excess electricity from the solar cells can be sent to the local utility.In many ways, electric vehicles are a good fit in Portland. The city is compact enough that the average day’s driving of most households, about 20 miles, is easily covered on a single battery charge. Three-quarters of the state’s residents live along the Interstate 5 corridor between Portland and Eugene, two hours south. Oregon also relies heavily on hydroelectric power, which produces no direct carbon emissions. Portland has a dense street-car and light-rail network, and the city has the country’s highest per-capita ownership of Toyota Prius hybrids.
SolarWorld's panels will provide electricity to 1000 low-income families in Santa Barbara County, California. The 2 megawatt (MW) system is believed to be the nation's largest for a government-sponsored affordable housing project. All told, more than 7,200 solar panels - made by SolarWorld - will offset 100% of the energy consumption of 863 units of affordable housing, including both tenant and common areas, and trim power costs for both the Housing Authority and residents.
In a study covering existing and new houses sold between May of last year and April 30 of this year, the Earth Advantage Institute, a nonprofit group based in Portland, Ore., found that newly constructed homes with third-party certifications for sustainability and energy efficiency sold for 8 percent more on average than noncertified homes in the six-county Portland metropolitan area. Existing houses with certifications sold for 30 percent more. A study conducted two years ago by the institute in Seattle and Portland identified what may be another plus: Homes marketed with energy-efficiency certifications appear to sell faster on average than those without.