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Good, clean (energy) fun! Parks, BPS and community partners join on solar project at East Portland Community Center

A great example of collaboration between City of Portland bureaus and community partners, the Bureau of Parks and Recreation’s East Portland Community Center (EPCC) began generating electricity on its new aquatic center this summer. Thanks to an innovative public/private financial arrangement referred to as a third-party ownership model, an 87-kilowatt (KW) solar electric system was added to the aquatics facility. In addition to the solar electric system, a solar water heating system to preheat water for the swim area’s showers was also installed.

The 87 KW electric system is expected to generate 96,000 kilowatt hours (kWh) of clean renewable electricity every year. Over the next 20 years, the resulting carbon dioxide reduction is equivalent to more than 2,000,000 miles not driven. This 240-square-foot system will save the City about 580 therms of natural gas each year. The solar hot water system is expected to conserve an additional 580 therms of natural gas each year.

EPCC was designed by SERA Architects and Commercial Solar Ventures acted as Developer for the City of Portland Parks and Recreation. Other partners included the City of Portland Bureau of Planning and Sustainability, Bonneville Environmental Foundation (BEF), Portland General Electric, US Bank and Energy Trust of Oregonin the nation.

The project was made possible by an incentive of $150,500 for the solar electric system and $3,534 for the solar water heating system from Energy Trust of Oregon and a $100,000 grant from Portland General Electric. The total cost for the solar electric and solar water heating systems was $844,860. The solar electric system was engineered, designed and installed by E C Company, Portland. The solar water heating system was designed and installed by Gen-Con Inc.