Video - 3 December 2013Read More…
1900 SW 4th Ave, Suite 7100, Portland, OR 97201
Last updated September 24, 2013
Solar Forward is Portland’s first solar crowdsourcing program. Solar Forward is where the community energy movement meets the crowdfunding craze. Portlanders now have a way to help fund the development of new, local renewable energy systems.
This is an innovative project that’s all about local energy. Solar Forward offers you the chance to build new, community energy assets, reduce carbon pollution, put local people to work installing PV systems, and help pave new ways for collectively powering our future.
If successful, some of the biggest benefit to the community are:
The City of Portland has created a special revenue fund called the Community Solar Special Revenue Fund to take in grant funds, community contributions and utility incentive revenues and to manage these funds for the purpose of installing additional solar electric systems on publicly-owned buildings.
The location offers more than adequate space and excellent solar access for the proposed system. SWCC was selected from among a number of potential City-owned properties because its popularity and high visibility provide excellent opportunities to educate and engage people around distributed renewable energy.
There are numerous potential sites spread throughout all quadrants of Portland that are possible sites for future Solar Forward systems.
On October 1, 2013, BPS will apply to the Oregon Pubic Utility Commission’s Solar Pilot Program to secure production-based incentives from PGE and Pacific Power for future community sites. This production-based incentive is known by several terms, including the Volumetric Incentive Rate (VIR), feed-in tarriff (FIT), or the Solar Payment Option. Once we know which sites have been awarded these incentives, we will publish the information on our website and begin the active crowdsourcing campaign.
Portlanders will be able to tell Solar Forward which sites they most want to see us invest in. The sites that have the greatest show of support – in terms of NUMBER of supporters, NOT total dollar amount raised – will help dictate where Solar Forward builds the next PV system(s).
Oregon’s current utility rules prevent giving contributors a kilowatt-hour credit on their utility bills for their share of the actual energy production. The ability to provide participants credit on their bill for the amount of kilowatt-hours generated from their proportion of the PV project is known as community net metering and is a common element in community solar projects in other states. Community net metering is not currently allowed under Oregon’s existing net metering laws.
The electricity produced from the system at Southwest Community Center will be used by the facility.
The broader Portland community benefits because the SW Community Center is supplying a portion of its electricity consumption from clean power generation and reducing community carbon emissions.Southwest Community Center will receive the benefit of the onsite electricity production.
Consumers that are interested in community net metering and in tracking the policy discussions around net metering in general are encouraged to get involved with Solar Oregon, OSEIA and Renewable Northwest Project.
The amount that SWCC saves on energy costs will be on the order of a few hundred dollars in the first few years. As utility rates increase, the amount that SWCC saves will increase as well. At the end of 15 years, SWCC will receive the full value of the electricity produced by the system.
The system is expected to generate approximately 10,500 kWh per year for SWCC, with more production in the summer and less in the winter. This PV system is relatively small compared to SWCC’s annual electricity load. Utility incentives, which are a critical piece of the financing for PV systems in Oregon, dictate the size of this particular system (10 kW and less). If this demonstration project proves successful, we hope to install larger systems in the future.
City of Portland Bureau of Planning and Sustainability,Portland Parks and Recreation and Solar Oregon.