Oregon Solar News

Oregon Solar Review - November 2016

Click here to read November 2016 Oregon Solar Review.

A Letter from the Executive Director


2016 started out with a bang with the Oregon legislature approving an expanded Renewable Energy Standard for Portland General Electric and Pacific Power. It also created the policy framework for community solar and passed an incentive for large-scale solar projects ranging from 2MW to 10MW. Much of the remainder of the year has been taken up by the mechanics of moving policy to real-life implementation. Much of that work will continue into 2017.

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Thriving Company Culture Through the Eyes of a Project Manager


This article is part of an ongoing series of interviews for my exclusive column on Thriving Culture. The intention of this series is to give you, as a reader, a sense of where and how culture is thriving in the solar industry, and how you might begin to strengthen company culture in your own company or place of business. I conducted this interview with Katie Martin, Project Manager at Imagine Energy, which currently employs ~15 solar team members with 2 solar install teams. As you’ll likely glean from this interview, Katie, and the leadership at Imagine, clearly have a deep understanding of the deep importance of company culture matters and the direct impact that it has on performance.

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Effective Grounding for PV Inverters: What You Need to Know


While only a handful of utilities nationwide currently require effective grounding for three- phase commercial photovoltaic (PV) installations, that number is growing. As more PV projects come online, more utilities (ie. NGRID, HECO, XCEL, PEPCO, BGE, etc.) are looking for methods to mitigate temporary overvoltage (TOV) from PV inverters. Yaskawa – Solectria Solar is an expert on this topic since we have worked with the first utilities to help customers size their grounding banks. We’ve created an Effective Grounding Design Tool to help calculate the impedance of grounding devices, but more on that later.


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My Solar Story - Cameron Yourkowski


Major energy crises seem to follow me wherever I go. When I was one and a half years old we lived just 30 miles from the Three Mile Island nuclear plant when it began to melt down. My mom still says my first full sentence was “no more nukes!” Although I was a tad young at the time to fully absorb all of the policy implications of the Three Mile Island disaster, it must have somehow been the beginning of my solar story.

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Lighting the Way with the Oregon Solar Business Plan


Brian David Johnson has an interesting job: he’s a futurist at Arizona State University. His job is not to predict the future; it’s to help organizations and people imagine the possibilities about the future. Recently, he was quoted by the radio show Marketplace, “the way that you change the future is you change the story that people tell themselves about the future that they will live in…If you can change that story, people will actually make different decisions.”

To help tell a story about the future of solar in Oregon, OSEIA has undertaken an Oregon Solar Business Plan...

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2017 OSEIA Solar Policy Agenda


Top Tier

Extend the RETC; apply RETC to community solar

Extend property tax exemption for solar

Pursue changes as needed to large-scale solar incentive (HB 4037 – 2016)

Second Tier

Create a commercial solar incentive

Incentives to install solar on multi-family housing

Bring PACE (Property-Assessed Clean Energy) financing to Oregon to tie the cost of solar installation to a building's property tax

Potential Support Items (OSEIA helping but not in the lead)

Modify the mission of the Oregon Public Utility Commission to allow consideration of environmental and climate impacts

Change building codes to increase energy efficiency and solar readiness in all new residential and commercial construction

Clarify small-scale renewables mandate within SB 1547 (2016)

Support funding for Oregon Renewable Energy Center at Oregon Institute of Technology

Modify 1.5% for Solar to create more opportunities for solar and perhaps align with community solar

Non-Legislative/Regulatory

Ensure community solar gets a strong start (PUC)

Account for all solar costs and benefits/Resource Value of Solar (PUC)

OSEIA Adopts Its 2017 Solar Policy Agenda


Back in May 2016, OSEIA kicked off a six-month process where solar industry folks contributed policy ideas and then ranked them. About two dozen specific ideas ended up being thrown into the mix and the ranking reflected the top priorities for the industry.

It’s important to note that the Oregon legislature is going to be dealing with thorny budget issues. Unfortunately, our top priorities involve money. That just means we will have to present a very good case to legislators. And we have a good case to make. Here are our top tier legislative issues...

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A Note from the Executive Director


As we head into the Thanksgiving holiday, we at OSEIA have a lot to be thankful for. At the top of the list (and any list we make) is our members. You make OSEIA’s work possible and we work to make sure that our industry stays strong and vibrant.

There’s a lot going on at your solar trade association these days. First and foremost, we are hard at work developing an Oregon Solar Business Plan, a 10-year pathway for growing solar in Oregon. Again, we are so thankful to OSEIA members and supporters who are making that project possible.

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EmPOWERing Education with Solar Energy


Volunteers from across Oregon’s PV industry—Elemental Energy, HDR Engineering, Imagine Energy, IronRidge, Portland State University, and SunPower—recently returned home from Cambodia after volunteering their expertise to install a 26kW off-grid PV system on the Stephen Mazujian Middle School. This project is a part of a global electrification initiative led by local non-profit Twende Solar to empower energy-deficient communities with renewable energy systems. Calling on the solar industry to unite behind this mission and lend their collective skillsets and resources, volunteers are rewarded with the experience of commissioning an off-grid PV system in an international setting, alongside the community. Let’s go solar, together!

Cambodia has one of the lowest electrification rates in SE Asia with an estimated 6.9 million people living without access to electricity. Despite these stark statistics, Cambodia has an impressive sun resource—reports estimate the nation could average 8,100 megawatts of peak generation, yielding roughly 12,000 gigawatt hours (GWh) of electricity per year. In a country where nearly 85% of its population lives in rural areas, a decentralized source of power like solar PV is the perfect solution to providing electricity to all communities.


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DEADLINE EXTENDED: Oregon Solar Soft Cost Survey


Energy Trust, in collaboration with Oregon Department of Energy (ODOE) and National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) has developed this survey to clarify what contributes to the cost of solar installations in Oregon. Survey questions ask about your Oregon solar installations and their associated costs in Q1 and Q2 of 2016 and the survey results will be compared to benchmark values from the 2014 Oregon installer survey. This worksheet provides the survey questions so you can collect any necessary information before beginning.

In order for your company to be counted, we have extended the completion deadline to Wednesday, November 30th. The survey should take 30-45 minutes to complete. Follow the link to begin the survey now: https://hbb.qualtrics.com/jfe1/form/SV_aW7aiZ1S8BsgryJ

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Revision to Solar Electric Installation Requirements


Announcement: Revision to Solar Electric Installation Requirements – remote shade analysis is approved to qualify for incentives effective November 14, 2016

Dear solar electric trade allies,

Effective immediately, Energy Trust of Oregon will allow approved remote shade analysis tools to qualify for solar electric incentives. A solar resource assessment from an approved shade analysis tool is required to be submitted as part of the incentive application packet. In the past, Energy Trust required a measurement to be taken at the proposed installation site from the location with the lowest TSRF value. Effective November 14th, Energy Trust is expanding the acceptable shade evaluation methods under Section 2.5 of the Solar Electric Installation Requirements to include remote shade analysis.

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Oregon Business Plan Seeks Industry Input


The Oregon Business Council (OBC) conducts an ongoing process that leads to the creation of an annual Oregon Business Plan. The plan is intended to be a tool for legislators and other policymakers to determine how to help Oregon grow and thrive. Take the survey here.

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OSEIA Looking Forward to a Positive, Bipartisan National Conversation About Solar


OSEIA congratulates President-elect Donald Trump. We look forward to the opportunity to be part of a positive, bipartisan national conversation about the jobs and investment that the solar industry offers to the American people. As a businessman, the President-elect understands business cases and value. Solar is an American-made industry and has a great value proposition. He has also committed to investments in infrastructure and solar will look to be part of that discussion as well.

OSEIA also congratulates Governor Kate Brown on her election along with the new and returning members of the Oregon legislature. Solar has been growing in Oregon since the early 1980s. Oregon can provide leadership to the rest of the country demonstrating how to expand solar in a smart, affordable and equitable manner. We look forward to working with Gov. Brown and the legislature on how solar can deliver in terms of jobs and economic investment as well as clean and affordable energy.

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