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Solar Forward: Funding Portland’s local energy future

solar forward logoPortland City Council voted recently to accept funds from the Oregon Community Foundation's (OCF) Penstemon Fund in the amount of $100,000. The acceptance of these grant funds will enable the installation of a solar electric system at Portland Parks & Recreation's (PP&R) Southwest Community Center (SWCC) and will provide an opportunity for a wider range of Portlanders to engage in the expansion of clean local energy production through a new pay-it-forward effort called “Solar Forward.”

“This $100,000 grant from the Penstemon Fund of the Oregon Community Foundation will allow us to install our first 'community solar' system, which will give an opportunity to renters and others who want to do their part to promote renewable energy, but can’t install a system on their own homes or apartments,” said Susan Anderson, director, City of Portland Planning and Sustainability (BPS).

Introducing Solar Forward: Where community energy meets crowdfunding

OCF has provided grant funds to ‘kickstart’ construction of the first system at SWCC, but the goal of this pilot is to raise community contributions that will go into Solar Forward to launch Portland’s first revolving solar fund.

The fund will finance the installation of future systems on community buildings around Portland. A tax-deductible contribution of any amount will help seed the fund.

“Like a community garden for people without backyards, community solar allows Portland neighbors to support a more resilient Portland with clean energy from the sun,” said Claire Carlson, executive director, Solar Oregon.  “It also makes a great gift with community benefits.”

In return, all of the contributors receive permanent recognition at the host site and the feel-good benefit of paying it forward.

Partners in this effort include Portland Parks & Recreation and Solar Oregon. Due to current utility regulations in Oregon, community contributors are not able to receive their electricity or a bill credit for the energy generation from this installation.

SWCC is offsetting a portion of their electricity consumption with clean power generation that will lower community carbon emissions. This helps Portland meet carbon reduction goals as outlined in the City of Portland and Multnomah County’s Climate Action Plan.

Follow and learn how to support this project at www.portlandoregon.gov/bps/solarforward or call Andria Jacob at 503-823-7616.

P.S.-- Understand how solar has grown in Portland over the last 10 years with our new solar map at www.portlandoregon.gov/bps/solarmap

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