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BPS Issues RFP for the Development of Community-Supported Solar Electric Systems

BPS has engaged in various efforts over the past several years to increase the adoption of solar energy technologies and to transform the market for solar in Portland and beyond. Working with partners, BPS has provided outreach and education, zoning code changes, and technical support for neighborhood-driven campaigns for purchasing solar panels (Solarize Portland). These efforts have significantly spurred the installation of solar on residential and business properties. Installed photovoltaic (PV) capacity in Portland is now close to 10 megawatts.

However, installation and direct ownership of on-site solar remains out of reach for many Portlanders for a variety of reasons, including site ownership, financial commitment, and solar resource constraints such as shading or roof orientation. Community solar represents a new addition to Portland's tools for transforming the local market for solar energy. Community solar is intended to make participation in the installation of PV systems available and accessible to a wider, more diverse audience of Portlanders, including renters, homeowners with shaded properties, and those wanting to fund PV in smaller increments than a typical residential system.

BPS's project objectives include:

  • Making solar energy generation more accessible to Portland citizens for whom direct ownership of solar on their own roofs is not feasible.

  • Providing opportunity for funding of solar energy in affordable increments.

  • Demonstrating a model for community-owned solar in Oregon under current legal and regulatory conditions.

  • Providing some return of benefits to community members who contribute funding for system construction costs.

  • Fostering the development of a replicable program model and ownership structure for community solar, such as the establishment of a solar funding cooperative that could sustain itself beyond a one-time effort.

Through this proposal BPS is seeking to facilitate collaborative relationships between:

  • private-sector parties that have federal tax liability and an interest in owning solar electric systems;

  • public-sector entities that own roof space and have policies that support renewable energy development; and

  • non-profit organizations and/or community-based organizations involved or interested in solar energy

The purpose of this collaboration is to finance and install community-supported solar electric systems on publicly owned rooftops.

Download the Community-Supported Solar RFP (PDF)