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Solar Forward campaign announces Founders Circle, new site

Mayor Charlie Hales hosted representatives from Portfolio 21 InvestmentsPortland Development CommissionSolarWorldUmpqua Bank and Wells Fargo to celebrate their early financial support of the City of Portland’s Solar Forward Fund, a crowdsourcing campaign designed by the Bureau of Planning and Sustainability.

As founding members of the Solar Forward Fund, these organizations have together provided more than $20,000 to lead the way on a tax-free, crowdsourced green energy fund to support the installation of solar infrastructure at some of Portland’s most beloved public sites, including community centers, libraries and schools.

The Solar Forward Fund offers community members a new way to support clean, local renewable energy systems that benefit the community. The City of Portland continues to raise money for the fund from individuals and organizations. Once $50,000 is reached, the City will install photovoltaic (PV) panels at Portland Public School’s Oliver P. Lent Elementary School in Portland’s Lents neighborhood.

Additional sites in Portland will be announced prior to future fundraising cycles.

“Portland Public Schools is proud to partner with the City of Portland’s Solar Forward campaign. We welcome the opportunity to work together within this innovative framework to continue maximizing operational and energy efficiencies while also promoting renewable energy development. We believe this demonstrates to our students and community our commitment to being both good citizens and environmental stewards,” said C.J. Sylvester, chief operating officer of Portland Public Schools.

“In Portland we have chance for the first time to join as an entire community and put solar on some of our most beloved public spaces,” said Portland Mayor Charlie Hales. “Joining us in this community solar campaign is both a simple gesture and a powerful expression of our shared future. It's a way for all of us to show that there are still places in the world that value community above self.”

Renewable energy provides benefits to the community, from maintaining healthy air to the economic opportunity created for Portland’s small businesses and workers. All contributors to the Solar Forward Fund receive permanent recognition at the host site and reduce carbon emissions while proving a new model for community energy production.

“It's a way to support the places we love and invest in the future,” said Susan Anderson, director of the City of Portland Bureau of Planning and Sustainability. “And, it's a point of pride. Solar is one of the world’s most visible markers of innovation, sustainability and progress.”

Visit www.portlandoregon.gov/bps/solarforward to learn more about the project and to make a tax-deductible gift.

Project history

BPS was awarded grant funds from the Oregon Community Foundation's Penstemon Fund in the amount of $100,000. This generous grant funded the installation of a 10-kilowatt solar electric system on Portland Parks & Recreation's Southwest Community Center and helped establish Solar Forward, Portland’s first revolving community solar fund.

Project partners include Portland Parks & RecreationPortland Public Schools and Solar Oregon.

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