By Pete Danko, Portland Business Journal -- Utility solar took a big step forward in Oregon last fall when Avangrid Renewables' 56-megawatt Gala plant - more than five times the size of any previous project in the state - went online, sending power to Apple Inc.
Read the full story on PBJ.com: https://www.bizjournals.com/portland/news/2018/01/... or here in pdf form.
Solar Plus stakeholders completed the first year of strategy development to build more solar energy generation in a way that maximizes the technical, social, and economic benefits. In December 2017, the Solar Plus Oregon group finalized strategies for the next two years. Partners will be working in 2018 towards implementing programs and developing projects to meet state goals and create a more sustainable and equitable solar industry.
The state-level goals developed by partners include an Equity Framework to guide the development of the state strategies. The state goals include a commitment to broaden access to solar energy to low-income households and communities of color, to engage with utilities and regulators on the complementary technologies that add value to solar deployment, and to increase the popular understanding of solar, including in the business community.Read more
OSEIA members, 2017 has come to a close and 2018 is about to begin! While we’ve had some challenges in 2017, there were many great things to be thankful for including very strong support from our members! We ended the year on a very positive note with respect to membership support which is essential to our continued efforts - your support is greatly appreciated as we need you more than ever!
We've all been in meetings that we wished would end before they even started. The air is heavy and the tone is dull. The information comes flying at us, with no room for input, questions or concerns. An agenda is missing, or lacking at best, with no flexibility to address what arises in the space. And there's certainly no laughter nor room for humor - a serious and focused leader at the front demands our silence and focused attention.
Is it possible to facilitate a meeting that people actually benefit from and enjoy?Read more
OSEIA has partnered with industry-recognized renewable-energy school Solar Energy International (SEI) that will include discounts on online coursework.
By Tamara Staton, Thriving Solar -- As we continue to ride the tumultuous solar coaster, many industry professionals naturally wonder what lurks around the corner in this ever-changing solar market. While we can't predict the future, there are things that we can do as business owners, executives, and managers to maintain control under circumstances that are mostly out of our control.
There is clearly great uncertainty with the sunset of the Residential Energy Tax Credit (RETC) in Oregon on December 31, 2017, not to mention the recent (and controversial) trade case - it's hard to know exactly how things will look in this market in just a few months....
OSEIA is currently working on a RETC replacement bill with a coalition of other efficiency advocates:
We're actively working on the Community Solar PUC process:
We're working with Utility Scale Developers on how we can improve land use and zoning issues to promote responsible solar development in OR.
OSEIA is working as a member of a Department of Energy Sunshot grant called Solar Plus. This grant is an initiative to convene solar stakeholders across Oregon and Washington to create strategies for increased solar deployment. We are specifically working with stakeholders to help facilitate the development of state level goals, advising on the process of developing a statewide solar plan for Washington, compiling data to inform goals and metrics, participating in technical working groups on valuation of grid assets and more.
Solar Plus envisions a future where the benefits of solar energy are equitably expanded to all including renters, households with low incomes, communities of color, and all ratepayers. Led by a broad coalition of stakeholders we are working towards tripling the amount of solar energy installed in Washington and Oregon by 2019. Find out more about this effort at: solarplusnw.org
By Charlie Coggeshall -- The past few weeks have brought some relatively encouraging updates regarding the implementation of the state’s community solar program. We can now confidently anticipate stakeholder engagement opportunities around key implementation aspects of the program over the next several months.
I am excited to take over as OSEIAs interim executive director and I look forward to engaging with you on upcoming initiatives, including 2018 legislation to fix the expiration of OR solar tax credits. Please know that we are as strong as ever and maintaining the momentum we've built over the past two years remains a high priority. I feel great about OSEIAs future for many reasons but a key one is that a main contributor to our momentum, the efforts of Craig Ernst and Meghan Craig, will continue delivering the excellent programs and events that OSEIA is becoming known for.
Please don't hesitate to reach out to myself or OSEIA staff if you have any questions.
OSEIA contracts interim Executive Director!Read more
Last week, The Solar Foundation released the 2017 U.S. Solar Industry Diversity Study, which is the first comprehensive examination of the workforce diversity of the U.S. solar energy industry. Findings show that racial diversity within the industry has remained relatively stagnant over recent years, and that all people of color, particularly women, are at risk of being left behind as the solar workforce continues its rapid growth trajectory. Of the major findings, only 8% of African American respondents reported that they have successfully moved up the career ladder, and 50% think they have not been successful in moving up in their careers and feel “stuck” in their current positions. Meanwhile, all women and people of color are less likely to earn top-tier wages than their white male peers. Learn more.
I’m the Program Director at Community Energy Project (CEP), where I’ve worked for over 11 years. My focus is on community education, low-income engagement, program development, and grassroots outreach. CEP provides DIY workshops on weatherization and lead poisoning prevention, as well as direct repair and weatherization services for low-income seniors and people with disabilities...It is because of this experience with the intersectionality of the low-income experience that we were approached to give feedback on SB 1547 “Coal to Clean” bill which included a sub-section on Community Solar – with a further sub-section on serving low-income communities. I’ll be honest, we had to be convinced. After all, what does solar have to do with low-income?
Oregon has always been seen as a leader in clean energy. Before “climate change” or even “clean energy” were commonplace terms, Oregon was helping individuals make clean energy investments. In the late 1970s, the legislature created the Residential Energy Tax Credit (RETC) to provide incentives to Oregonians to invest in energy efficiency and renewable energy. In fact, the RETC was identified in the recently released Oregon Solar Plan as a key factor in getting solar to where it is today in Oregon. It also helped Oregon reduce its energy usage over the years.
You’d think that as we confront climate change and look to be a national leader in demonstrating the benefits of clean energy that making sure the RETC or some kind of clean energy incentive would be a legislative no-brainer.
You’d be wrong.Read more
In 1979 at the ripe young age of 30 I built a new home in Northwest Portland. I installed a solar water heating system in May 1980. Proudly standing next to my solar collectors, on May 18th I watched Mt. St. Helens erupt. I was a real estate broker, having just started my own company selling a condominium project misfortunately called “Ash Creek Park”. As the region was covered in ash, and with interest rates climbing to 19% nothing was selling and I had a big mortgage to pay. I called the solar company who’d installed my system and asked them if they could use a part time salesman. I told them I could sell anything I believed in.
Most of you have heard that the legislative effort to extend the Residential Energy Tax Credit (RETC) or replace it with another residential solar incentive was not successful for 2017. While we negotiated a very good package that balanced the needs of the industry and solar customers with the needs of the state, one or two legislators felt that without a more stable revenue approach for the state, they could not support any tax credits, no matter how small (ours would have had a $2.7 million impact on the current budget).
We had terrific champions, we had great grassroots support (over 200 people make calls or sent e-mails on July 3 alone as we entered the final days of the session. All of that combined kept us alive all the way to the end.
But we still fell short and are now trying to determine next steps...Read more
A diverse workforce better reflects the perspective of its customers, fosters innovation and retains existing talent—all of which are key contributors to financial performance.
That’s why a first-of-its-kind report will be released later this year on career pathways and diversity in the solar workforce. As an initiative of the Solar Energy Industry Association’s Women’s Empowerment Committee and administered by The Solar Foundation, the study will establish a baseline on specific job responsibilities, salaries, and levels of leadership for women, minorities and veterans. It will compare the results to other industry sectors and identify best practices and areas for improvement.
Policy Update: Lots Happening; Lots Still to Do
As this update is being written, there is a big effort going on in the legislature to create a new residential solar incentive. A big effort around community solar rulemaking just finished but there’s still a lot of work to do to implement a community solar program.
Legislative Update: The Residential Energy Tax Credit (RETC) will expire at year’s end, but we have the chance to create a new tax credit to help residential customers install solar on their rooftops. The new credit, known as the Residential Incentive for Solar Energy (RISE), will make it easier for residential customer to go solar. We are currently pushing hard to make sure that the new tax credit will be included in the final tax credit bill that the legislature will consider before the session ends.Read more
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Salem, OR (June 29, 2017) – Today, the Public Utility Commission of Oregon (PUC) adopted community solar rules that will bring the state one step closer to enabling all Oregonians to directly participate in, and benefit from, local solar projects without having to place solar panels on one’s roof.
Gov. Kate Brown signed Senate Bill 1574 on Mar. 10, 2016, directing the PUC to develop a community solar program with the goal of expanding access to affordable, local clean energy. Community solar allows multiple energy customers – families, businesses and schools - the ability to share in the benefits of a local solar project and receive credit on their electric bill for their portion of the clean power produced. Community solar can make solar accessible to every Oregonian with an electric bill. For the last year, the PUC’s staff and Commissioners have worked with stakeholders to develop the program rules approved today.Read more
My first introduction to solar was either helping a friend design a solar cooker in an engineering class or using my hand lens magnifier between the sun and a small pile of dry leaves to start a campfire at geology field camp in Eastern Oregon. Either way, both seemed like rather economical methods to harness a readily available source of renewable energy. After earning my geology degree it was a natural fit to end up in the energy industry. I started working with utilities and developers to site and permit large gas pipelines and offshore terminals.
News broke earlier this week that a former Oregon Department of Energy (ODOE) employee pleaded guilty to racketeering and other charges following an Oregon Department of Justice Investigation into the agency. The former employee had been an administrator in the department’s now-defunct Business Energy Tax Credit (BETC) Program. He admitted to abusing his position to garner $291,000 in kickbacks over 3 years, from mid-2012 to early 2015...
Support the Oregon SolarPAC!!!
OSEIA has started a political action committee to increase our voice and influence with our decision makers in Salem. Your donation to the Oregon SolarPAC helps expand OSEIA’s capacity to develop a marketplace for the widespread adoption of solar energy in Oregon. More information>