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Founded in 1979, Solar Oregon is a 501 (c) (3) non-profit membership organization providing public education and community outreach to encourage Oregonians to choose solar energy.
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Oregonians for Solar Energy!


May 24, 2010

My name is Ron McDowell and I am a resident of Portland Oregon.  I’ve lived and worked in Oregon about half my life and I raised my family here.  I feel at peace in a place that is so green and beautiful and I’d like to keep it that way for generations to come.  I feel we all have that responsibility.  It is one of the main reasons I am a supporter of clean and renewal energy. 

Sure, I understand that putting solar on my home is a hedge against raising energy prices, but that’s not why I installed it on my residence.  I did it because I’d made a promise to myself that when I was able to own my own home, I’d make it as energy efficient as possible and create my own power from the Sun. To me it is a no brainer to reduce fossil fuel consumption by utilizing a different technology to energize my home.  Solar makes that possible.

Fact is I couldn’t have afforded it without the tax credit incentives.  With costs still high for most pocketbooks, it would’ve taken years before I could afford to purchase, and that’s not a responsible course of action for those who believe in curtailing our dependency on fossil fuels (for the myriad of reasons). We are a middle income family paying our share of taxes and then some, and this is one way I’d prefer to see our tax dollars spent.  One reason why so many homeowners in Portland have “solarized” over the past two years is the RETC helped make it possible.  The demand is there if we can hold on to the incentives we have now … at least until a more sustainable and perhaps more equitable, energy policy gets implemented by the state or federal government. I’m all for schools, parks, police, and elderly care, but if we don’t change our energy policies we’ll soon poison our planet, and then we won’t need those things anymore.


Ron McDowell

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Senator Devlin,

I am a working Oregonian who will be replacing the roof of the family home this year and would really like to put electricity generating solar panels on that new roof. With the tax credits, the return on investment calculations make sense for my family to put our capital to use in this way. Without the tax credits and with only a 3% to 10% increase in energy prices per year, I can better deploy my capital in the financial markets, which would put 90% of that money outside of Oregon.

The money I would spend on the solar electricity would go to Oregon contractors who would further spend in our local area. Ideally, I will be buying solar panels from SolarWorld, a company that manufactures panels in Hillsboro, Oregon, providing good jobs to Oregonians.

Although I am motivated by doing the correct thing for my family and state in a financial sense, I am also well aware, as I am sure you are, of the benefit of reducing carbon and other pollutants in the atmosphere from coal and gas fired power plants.

Kind Regards,

Steven Garner
West Linn

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Jim Walls
Executive Director
Lake County Resources Initiative
100 North D Street
Lakeview, OR 97630


Senator Doug Whitsett
900 Court St. NE
Suite S-303
Salem, OR 97301


Dear Senator Whitsett,

Please maintain the current funding levels for the Renewable Energy Tax Credit (RETC).  Lake County Resources Initiative considers residential solar energy a viable means to both reduce the environmental impact and provide our communities with much needed protection from rising energy costs.

In the past 2 years, we have helped 21 families plan and install photovoltaic and hot water solar systems, ground source heat pumps, as well as small wind systems.  RETC played a huge role in making these installations possible.  Without RETC, these families could not have afforded to install these systems and realize the large cost savings of renewable energy.

As our work has shown us, support for renewable energy greatly benefits those living far from power plants.  Additionally, local production of energy reduces the demand on Oregon’s already taxed energy structure.  In our view, every locally generated watt is a watt allowing Oregon’s energy grid to continue functioning without a complicated and very expensive overhaul.  By continuing to support RETC, you will continue to support the rural residents of Lake County and Oregon a like. 

Thank you for your time and consideration.  Please do not hesitate to call to discuss this matter further.  We look forward to your response.


Jim Walls

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 May 31, 2011

Senator David Nelson
900 Court St NE, S-45
Salem, OR 97301

Dear Senator Nelson,

I am writing to urge you to support and adequately fund the State of Oregon’s renewable energy tax credits in the forms of the Residential Energy Tax Credits and Business Energy Tax Credits.

As you may or may not be aware, Pendleton has received national and international recognition for our community based, group-buy, solar program--Solarize Pendleton. We courageously adapted a model that had been used only in the metro Portland area for our rural town so that we could bring the numerous benefits of solar to our citizens. We then crafted an unprecedented zero-interest loan program for solar installations. At the end of 2010, we had more installations, per capita, than any city in the Northwest. By the end of 2011, we hope to have the most in the U.S.

Since we started this program in Pendleton, we have had a solar contractor open up a local office here, hiring two local full-time employees. They have also sub-contracted with area contractors, boosting these other businesses as well. In a time when job creation is slow, we’ve created a new demand for a skilled workforce. We are also supporting Oregon manufactures by using only local products from Solar World in Hillsborough, Oregon and PV Powered in Bend, Oregon. Our program is made possible through a solar network that is over 1,000 jobs strong.

Oregonians spent $10 billion on energy in 2006, according to a study by 3E Strategies. Fully 85% of that money left our state to import energy. Keeping that money in the Oregon would be a boon for our local economy. In one year, we managed to keep upwards of an additional $17,000 in our local economy. Every year as utility rates rise, the amount of money we are keeping here in Pendleton will increase, giving homeowners more money to spend and invest in the local economy.

Despite our local success, we know that solar is a developing industry and its adoption by our residents and business owners would not be possible without the State of Oregon Tax Credits for renewable energy. The money invested in these programs is used to leverage other resources which has a multiplying effect on the money invested in renewable energy and conservation and without it, the industry may come to a standstill.

Please, I urge you to support and adequately fund these bills so that Oregon can continue to be a leader in renewable energy:

HB 2523—Renewable energy manufacturing support (BETC)
HB 2414—Conservation support (BETC)
HB 2208—Renewable Energy support (BETC)
HB 2524—EV Support (BETC)
HB 2522—Residential Energy Tax Credits (RETC)

Very truly yours,

Phillip Houk
Mayor, City of Pendleton

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Representative Jules Bailey
PO Box 42429
Portland, OR 97242 

Dear Jules:

I am writing to urge your support and the committees support for maintaining the alternative energy tax credits.  You are well aware of the good that comes from solar and other forms of energy over fossil fuels.  As a young leader and forward thinking legislator I always feel I can count on you to support these types of bills.  Though I am sure in these tough budget times a bit of encouragement never hurts.
As abolition or altering of the tax credit bills come before your committee please keep in mind the following facts: Clean energy investments create 16.7 jobs for every $1million in spending in contrast investment in fossil fuels generates 5.3 jobs per $1million in spending.  To date, Oregon has seen more than $2billion in investments in renewable  energy projects resulting in:  creation of over 1600 jobs, over $76 million in farmland leased, and over $142 million in property taxes and community servide fees contributed.  
As an economist you are well aware that the cost of a measure is not only in today's dollars but the benefits must be analized over the long term.  I urge you to lead your committee and continue to work for no cuts in the energy tax credit programs for residences and business.
Thanks for listening.

Ginny Benware
Portland, OR


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