CORVALLIS, Ore. -- Electric car-charging stations have been popping up all over Oregon. And now, a co-op that's striving to be a model of sustainable living is making waves in Corvallis. And to make the co-op even more environmentally friendly, solar panels provide some of their energy needs.
Oregon’s commercial solar business took off after state Legislators in 2007 increased the value of the state’s Business Energy Tax Credit from up to 35 percent of the cost of a renewable energy project to 50 percent. But faced with a crippling deficit, Legislators this year were forced to cut from non revenue-generating programs. The BETC program, which made available $300 million in tax incentives during the two year period that ended June 30, was turned into a grant program with just $3 million to split among all renewable energy technologies.
Heat and solar energy go hand in hand. We've all seen installations that provide solar hot water and solar heating. But if we could come up with a sort of “combined-reversible solar-thermal” system that could provide airconditioning in the summer, heating in the winter, and hot water year-round, the circle would be complete. It's possible, and new solar-concentrating collectors and airconditioning technology are making this type of system technically and economically feasible.
The Oregon Entrepreneurs Network (OEN) recently announced finalists for this year’s Tom Holce Entrepreneurship Awards, and one of the four finalists in the “growth stage company” category is Grape Solar of Eugene, Oregon. Ocean Yuan, a UO graduate and Eugene resident, is President of Grape Solar and is being recognized for helping revolutionize how solar is sold in the United States. His company is one of the largest solar consortiums in the world, consisting of dozens of Chinese manufacturers involved in the solar energy supply chain, which yields 500MW of manufacturing capacity per year.
Gates Furniture in Grants Pass, Ore., found a combination of lighting efficiency improvements to save energy, and a solar electric system to produce power, was the right one-two punch to keep energy costs in check. And cash incentives from Energy Trust of Oregon helped make the investments possible.
An ambitious solar project rolling out across Oregon college campuses next week would set one university on a path toward energy independence. The five megawatts planned for Oregon Institute of Technology, Oregon State University, and Eastern Oregon would create a bigger solar project than any currently operating in Oregon.
Projects ranging from a government initiative involving 20 to 30 buildings to the Facebook data center draw on a growing network of solar designers, installers and manufacturers based in Central Oregon.
Bonneville Power Administration will raise wholesale power rates for its consumer-owned utility customers, such as in Vancouver, Canby and Eugene, by 7.8 percent in October.
County to funnel savings from solar to other energy-efficient projects
His nine-year journey toward living green began small: planting an organic garden and using low VOC paint. It grew larger: installing 47 solar panels and other systems to help his home achieve net zero carbon emissions. And eventually gigantic: making a $2 million documentary film, "Deep Green," about how people the world over are reducing fossil fuel dependence.
Richard and Pauline Mather were the first residential customers with Salem Electric to install a solar system at their West Salem home, and just recently they were among the first in the Willamette Valley to purchase a Nissan LEAF.
Solar Ambassadors Richard and Pauline Mather have a new companion for their residential solar system: A luminescent, pearl-colored 2011 Nissan Leaf all-electric powered car.
Contractors working within Energy Trust Service territories (Portland General Electric, Pacific Power, Northwest Natural Gas and Cascade Natural Gas) now have the opportunity to gain additional financial incentives for solar and energy conservation projects. The purpose of the bonus incentives is to encourage homeowners to pursue solar measures in concert with conservation measures and vice-versa.
The 30-person company, based in Durham near the Bridgeport Village shopping center, is working to commercialize a technology first developed at Oregon State University.
A 500-killowatt solar farm was switched on Friday at the Lever Family Farm in Aurora, the largest of its kind in Clackamas County.
Solar energy may soon become easier to capture, say researchers who have developed a novel method to produce solar cells using inkjet printing.
SolarWorld announced Wednesday that it sold its shares in a joint venture production site in South Korea. The company will instead focus on expanding its manufacturing capacity at its sites in the United Sates and in Germany.
This past week the largest ground-mounted solar farm in the region went on line at the 88-acre Lever Family Farm in Aurora.