Solarize Portland is a solar panel volume-purchasing program being led by Portland area neighborhood associations.
Solarize Portland efforts around the city are installing solar at record rates! Thanks to volunteer-driven community efforts led by three area neighborhood coalition offices, Solarize Portland is bringing renewable solar energy and the benefits of weatherization to hundreds if not thousands of Portland homes.
Missed the deadline for Solarize Portland?
If you have missed the deadline for your neighborhood project, you can still install solar at competitive prices. Oregon has some of the best tax credits and cash incentives in the country. To learn more about installing solar on your home outside of a Solarize Neighborhood Project, please visit Energy Trust of Oregon's Website to find qualified solar contractors.
How it works
The program helps neighbors decide: who to hire, what to budget, and where to start. Interested neighbors come together to choose a contractor, purchase and install solar as a community, and save significant costs as a result of bulk purchasing of solar electric panels.
When communities run their own volume purchasing programs they reduce costs associated with a traditional solar installation. By choosing only one or two contractors, and conducting their own sales and marketing campaign, the project can hand deliver the contractors warm leads in a small geographic area in a constricted period of time. Job grouping, a constricted time period, and community led sales can contribute to a saving of an additional 15-20 percent. This, coupled with Oregon’s already attractive tax credits and cash incentives, can bring the cost of solar electricity down by 90 percent.
Originally created by SE Uplift and a neighborhood leader in the Mt. Tabor Neighborhood Association, the first iteration of the Solarize Portland project quickly expanded to become a partnership between several SE Portland neighborhoods and the SE Uplift Neighborhood Sustainability Program. The first Solarize Portland project (launched June 6, 2009 and closed September 15, 2009) focused on homes in Southeast Portland. However, the interest and excitement around using bulk purchasing to bring down the costs and logistical hurdles of going solar caught on city-wide.
The City of Portland’s Bureau of Planning and Sustainability, Energy Trust of Oregon and Solar Oregon offers strategic and technical assistance to neighborhood organizations that are interested in operating a Solarize project.
If you do not see Solarize Portland in your community and would like to coordinate one yourself, send an e-mail to Andria Jacob at the Bureau of Planning and Sustainability to learn how you can get involved.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Is Oregon sunny enough for solar?
A: Yes. Even Portland and the rainy Willamette Valley receive as much sunshine annually as the average U.S. city. In fact, solar is Oregon’s most abundant renewable resource. Today, more than 17,000 Oregon households use solar energy systems to generate electricity or heat water.
Q: Is my home right for solar?
A: Depends...Solar works best on south-facing roofs, though east- or west-oriented roofs may be suitable as well. There should be little or no shading from trees, buildings, chimneys or roof gables on or adjacent to your home. Remember, locations with no shading in the winter may be shaded by spring and summer foliage.
Q: How much does solar electricity (PV) cost?
A: Depends...For a solar electric system, the cost depends on the size of the system and the ease of installation. Before incentives and tax credits, typical costs range from $6,500–$10,000 for each kilowatt (kW) of capacity. With bulk purchasing, costs are likely to be lower. Incentives and tax credits can cover up to 80% of the cost. Bulk purchasing can add an additional 10-15% savings. And low-interest rate financing is available with GreenStreet Lending through Umpqua Bank.
Q: Can I install my own system?
A: Yes. However, to qualify for an Energy Trust incentive or an Oregon state tax credit, your system must be installed by an eligible contractor.
Q: Can I install solar panels on my home if I live in one of Portland's Historic or Conservation Districts?
A: Yes. Please visit this page for all the details.
What's your solar potential?
Solarize Portland neighborhood websites
- Solarize Northwest (on Facebook)
- Solarize North
- Solarize Northeast
- Solarize Southeast
- Solarize Southwest
|Other solar program websites:|
|BPS is working in partnership with the U.S. Dept. of Energy’s Sunshot Initiative to facilitate the neighborhood-based volume purchasing program Solarize Portland for solar electric panels in Portland neighborhoods.|
|Solar Now! is a campaign brought to you by Solar Oregon, Oregon Department of Energy, Energy Trust of Oregon and the City of Portland’s Bureau of Planning and Sustainability. Solar Now! connects Oregonians with the resources and assistance they need to choose solar energy.|
|Energy Trust of Oregon is an independent nonprofit organization dedicated to helping Oregonians benefit from saving energy and tapping renewable resources.|
|Solar Oregon is a non-profit organization that provides public education and community outreach to encourage Oregonians to choose solar energy.|
|DSIRE Financial Incentives
Visit the DSIRE website for an all inclusive list of Oregon financial incentives.
|The Oregon Department of Energy ensures that Oregonians have an adequate supply of reliable and affordable energy and is safe from nuclear contamination, by helping Oregonians save energy, develop clean energy resources, promote renewable energy, and clean up nuclear waste.|