Solar Now! University Sizzles

September 22, 2015

It’s been a few short weeks, since this year’s Solar Now! University and I want to thank the many partners, staff members, and sponsors who helped make this event a success.

Solar Now! University Conference

With a conference theme of ‘sprinting ahead,’ this convening of renewable energy leaders provided an opportunity to reflect on the many examples of progress we’ve made, in addition to pointing us towards where future efforts for solar in the Pacific Northwest are headed.

This year, our host – Clackamas Community College in Oregon City welcomed conference-goers and used the opportunity to call attention to their Renewable Education program and to share many of the innovative sustainability measures that they’ve implemented on campus. Abe Fouhy, Renewable Energy & Alternative Fuel Instructor for the school, talked proudly about the school’s program and the job placement success of his graduates. You can read more about the program and degree options here.

Oregon has shown particular success in Community Solar developments. Not only do Community Solar programs exist in both the City of Portland and in Washington State, but others have emerged as well. Solarize models also continue to evolve and this year we were able to compare many of the different models that have worked in cities and counties throughout the states with a look toward what is most effective, and what lessons have been learned. This session included a great recap of the Solarize Clackamas County initiative that resulted in more than 350kW of installed solar photovoltaics.

With keynotes from Metro Councilor Carlotta Collette, Milwaukie Mayor Mark Gamba, and Engineer-Storyteller Dan Bihn, we were reminded that solar is part of a larger ecosystem related to grid resiliency, climate change, and social sustainability. Solar energy is a part of a large energy puzzle that may happen to save you money, add to the value to your home, and even offset the carbon footprint of the new electric vehicle you’re driving. It matters where you we get our energy from, and equally important, it matters how we use it.

We received wide acclaim for the quality of speakers and relevance of topics at this year’s SNU.  We plan to top it next year.  Hopefully we see you at our next Solar Oregon event too!

Lastly, thank you to all of our sponsors and community partners: Energy Trust of Oregon, Clackamas Community College, Platt Electric, Drive Oregon, Northwest Solar Communities, Oregon Department of Energy, Research Into Action, YR&G, City of Portland, Environment Oregon, Home Performance Guild of Oregon, OLCV, Renew Oregon, Oregon Rural Action, OREP, and OSEIA. Your support is key to our success.

Best,

Zach Henkin
Solar Oregon Board Member