Community solar offers exciting possibilities to help consumers who can’t put solar on their roof still access the benefits of solar by participating in a larger project and getting a portion of the energy from that project credited to their bill.
The Oregon legislature adopted a community solar policy in February 2016. The Oregon Public Utility Commission (PUC) was charged with writing rules for the policy. The PUC has held a series of workshops starting in the second half of 2016 and continuing into 2017 as part of an informal process for the community solar rulemaking docket (AR 603). The community solar statute requires that rules for the program be in place by July 1, 2017.
I am the daughter of a career Marine and grew up on military bases around the country. What I took away from seeing my father put on a uniform each morning was a sense of service and the importance of working for something larger than myself. Driving across the country every other summer to a new duty station impressed on me that nothing is static and how important it is to be flexible.
My love for engineering can be directly linked to a multicolored set of Lego bricks. Why I chose to go into Aerospace engineering is not as clear. I attended Cal Poly San Luis Obispo where the motto is “Learn by Doing” and it wasn’t until much later that I realized not all engineers had the benefit of such a hands-on education....In 2008, I moved to Oregon to be closer to my family and to start a career in the solar industry. An engineering degree - even one with a focus on hands-on learning - doesn't make up for a lack of construction experience. So I started at the bottom to learn the trade.Read more
Between OSEIA’s priority bills moving and a successful lobby day, it's been a good month for solar in Oregon's capitol but the outcome is still uncertain.
First, all three of OSEIA’s priority bills passed their first legislative hurdle by passing out of the House Energy & Environment Committee. Second, OSEIA hosted a successful and productive Solar Lobby Day last Monday in the capitol. OSEIA is beyond grateful to the 83 members and supporters who attended. We met with 67 legislators or their staff, that’s 75% of the 90-person legislature. Third, OSEIA policy staff and ten board members met with Governor Brown to discuss OSEIA’s solar priorities and solar’s role in our future. Nevertheless, we’ve a lot of work ahead to secure OSEIA’s priorities, and given the budget context, the outcome, particularly on RETC, is far from certain.Read more
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 Ry Heller, Field Manager at True South Solar which currently employs 18 solar team members with 2 solar install teams.
Tamara: What does a thriving culture mean to you?
Ry: I think about it along the lines of my community here in Ashland. Our company is a little thriving culture within that. We have like-minded visions, shared goals, and our job is environmental activism. Our little thriving culture is more than just a job where you show up and make money. It’s a little community within the bigger community of people who want to make a difference, and enjoy showing up to work everyday to make that difference. We’re not just coworkers, but we’re all getting to know each other better, doing things outside of work sometimes, providing a very friendly community of support for one another...Read more
OSEIA caught up with Jeni Hall, Sr. Project Manager to ask her a few questions about this year’s Solar Contractor Day sponsored by Energy Trust of Oregon on Tuesday May 9th.
What is Solar Contractor Day?
A whole day of training on Tuesday May 9th designed just for Oregon solar contractors brought to you by Energy Trust of Oregon. Talking with solar trade allies we hear that many contractors are interested in growing their businesses, increasing their profits, and decreasing costs. We contracted with national industry experts on financial management, business operations, and installation best practices to help by providing Oregon solar contractors the tools needed to meet their goals.
Is there something different about Solar Contractor Day this year?
Yes! This year we have something for the whole team by offering two educational tracks. Focus on either business development or technical skills...Read more
Solar Makes its Mark on Legislature
OSEIA is beyond grateful to its members and supporters who attended Monday's Solar Lobby Day in Oregon's capitol. The importance of that event is difficult to overstate. With all three of OSEIA’s priority bills out of their first committee last week, this was our first chance to carry the message of RETC’s importance to a broader range of legislators.
By any measure, lobby day was successful. All told we met with 67 legislators or their staff. That’s 75% of the 90-person legislature. At least 83 solar pros and supporters attended...Read more
The 2017 legislative session is well underway and the OSEIA legislative team is hard at work. We are pursuing the policy agenda developed by the membership and approved by the board. Here’s an update on what’s happening with the key bills taking up most of our time.
At Puget Sound Cooperative Credit Union (PSCCU) we’ve been serving the financial needs of our neighbors since 1934 with a variety of products and services. But one of the ways we’re different is we’re one of the few financial institutions offer energy-efficiency / solar loans. Our Energy-Smart Loans improve housing stock, lower energy usage AND put people to work. Our deposits go towards supporting the environment, sustainability and YOUR local economy. That’s how PSCCU practices community and cooperation. Our solar program (to date) has helped over 2,600 Washingtonians become solar citizens, created living wage jobs, and these solar projects have put nearly $75 million back into our local economy which in turn will generate 6,100 Megawatts of electricity over their lifetime! We’re looking forward to adding Oregon solar projects to those numbers.
Oregon residents can join PSCCU and take advantage of our Energy-Smart loan program simply by becoming a member of the NW Energy Coalition (NWEC). More information about the Coalition and membership can be found on their website.Read more
We’ve been talking about extending the Residential Energy Tax Credit (RETC) and the property tax exemption for a long time. But yesterday (Wednesday, March 29) we had the first hearing to start the process.
For an hour and a half, solar installers, energy efficiency advocates, labor representatives and economic development workers told the members of the Oregon House Energy and Environment Committee about the benefits of the RETC and the property tax exemption (but mostly RETC) – for consumers, for businesses and for Oregon.Read more
In mid-March, Imagine Energy at last completed one of the largest solar installations Portland has yet seen: 1.02 MW on the Montgomery Park commercial complex. The 1920 building, formerly a Montgomery Ward mail-order catalog warehouse, was acquired in the 1980’s and fully renovated into what is now the second largest office building in Oregon. Since then its owner, Bill Naito Co., has transformed the historic building through a host of upgrades and retrofits into one of the most sustainable commercial buildings in the United States. Its latest addition, the 1.02 MW solar array, will produce more than 30% of the buildings' energy needs and likely increase its already impressive current Energy Star Rating of 95 to 98, indicating energy efficiency greater than 98% of US commercial buildings.
Track 2017 Bills Important to OSEIA:
HB 3050 - Relating to solar photovoltaic power generation facilities - Dead.
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 Anthoney Robinson, PV Installer and Energy Consultant at Elemental Energy, which currently employs 15 solar team members with 2 solar install teams.
Tamara: How would you describe your path to becoming an installer at Elemental Energy?
Anthoney: I was in the Marine Corps right after high school. I didn't particularly enjoy that too much, but I did learn that I like manual labor. I can't sit behind a desk – it’s something that I just can't wrap my head around...Read more
New Oregon Solar Energy Development Program Enrolls First Round of Projects. The 15 projects selected to date represent 116MW of the total 150MW capacity.
Oregon’s electricity could be 10 percent solar by 2027 by installing enough solar capacity to power 500,000 homes.
The Oregon Solar Energy Industries Association (OSEIA), Oregon’s solar trade association, today released its Oregon Solar Plan, which outlines a blueprint for the next 10 years of the state’s energy future. The plan, a collaboration between OSEIA and Lewis and Clark Law School’s Green Energy Institute, finds that solar can provide 10 percent of Oregon’s electricity needs by 2027 by installing enough solar capacity to power the equivalent of 500,000 Oregon homes.Read more
A quick update on the RETC; Oregon’s Residential Energy Tax Credit —> a great program driving solar in Oregon for many years!
Hello, Oregon Solar Installers!
My name's Bill Paulen, and I am the President and CEO of Generations Credit Union. It's my pleasure to introduce our financial institution to you. I met many of you at the recent 2017 OSEIA member meeting, and many more at the 2016 ASES/Intersolar conference in San Francisco. That was easily my favorite conference of the last several years... Way more fun checking out cutting edge solar equipment and listening to solar presentations than sitting through days of financial institution regulatory compliance topics.
Several years ago, Washington installations skyrocketed when competitive solar financing became available, and Generations is proud to have been a part of that. Our mission now is to make the experience of borrowing for a solar PV system as easy as getting a car loan. We’ve deployed state of the art mobile loan application tools that allow borrowers to apply from their cell phones in less than 5 minutes. We will equip your salespeople with tools to allow them to concentrate on selling solar PV systems, not trying to wade through the financing process. And we will keep you, the leaders of this effort, informed of our progress as we work together to provide a frictionless, EASY process for consumers to invest in solar...Read more
We're nearly four weeks into Oregon's legislative session and, while it's still too early to read the tea leaves, prospects look hopeful for OSEIA's major policy priorities this session. The House Environment and Natural Resources Committee tentatively scheduled a mid-March hearing for two OSEIA priorities—extending the Residential Energy Tax Credit (RETC) and extending the property tax exemption for solar. To prepare, OSEIA's executive director, Jeff Bissonnette, spent part of last week in Salem. He heard good feedback in a round of lobby meetings with legislative leadership and with every member of the environment committee.Read more
My path to the solar industry was kind of a long courtship: Unsure of what I wanted to do, I kept looking into solar every few years until I eventually decided to take the plunge and go for a solar career.
Over 100 attendees representing over 55 businesses display the vibrancy of this industry. This year OSEIA is telling a different story than they have told in the past. Solar is growing in Oregon, and growing quickly. The industry has never been as cohesive as it is today. “I was completely stunned,” noted Craig Ernst, OSEIA’s development director. “We have never seen this type of participation. We had over 11 folks running for 5 open board seats. I barely recognized half of the attendees. We are onto something!”
There are 11 people who have declared their desire to run for the board and whose eligibility has been confirmed for the upcoming 2017 board election. Incumbent board members running for re-election are designated by an (i).
Voting will be at the OSEIA Member Meeting on February 24. Anyone who is not able to attend on Feb. 24 should contact Jeff Bissonnette at jeff [at] oseia.org to get and submit an early ballot. Click Read More below for candidate bios.
I have a book on my office bookshelf called the “Alternative Energy Sourcebook 1991.” It’s a catalog of sorts from the Real Goods Trading Corporation that offers solar modules and any number of micro-hydro and other renewable systems. So I’ve had a long-standing interest in solar and renewable energy.
I keep it around to remind myself how far we’ve come in terms of the technology and the capacity to serve as a real energy resource. I didn’t get a chance to actually work on renewable energy until I came back to Oregon in 1998 to work for the Citizens’ Utility Board of Oregon (CUB). CUB represents residential ratepayers and while most consumer advocates are just focused on energy as a pocketbook issue, CUB also looks at energy from the perspective of Oregonians’ values. Oregonians care where their energy comes from, they want to invest in energy efficiency and renewable energy, they want clean up our energy grid.Read more
It’s Been a Year Already?
February 1, 2016 was a busy day for me. It was my first day working for OSEIA, I had a board meeting, it was the first day of the 2016 legislative session and for the first time in over 17 years, I was the new guy.Read more
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 Kelli
Wolford, Office Manager at Synchro Solar, which currently employs 10 solar team
members with 2 solar install teams.
Projects totaling 291 megawatts have applied for the state’s new Solar Development Incentive Program — but only 150 megawatts will get in.
Why homeowners need technology that delivers more than code compliance
by Tefford Reed -- Every three years brings a revision to the National Electrical Code, a benchmark for electrical safety in the US. One by one, the states interpret those changes to help local permitting authorities decide whether a rooftop solar project meets safety standards. Technology designed to code is likely to require costly and time-consuming upgrades as code changes. A modular, low-voltage technology, like the Enphase Microinverter System, inherently satisfies code requirements year after year.Read more
My solar story started at Southern Oregon University (SOU) in
2010. I went back to school because I had recently become a father and wanted
to set a good example for my son. I was a business major but began taking environmental
studies classes. The classes focused on environmental problems, which are daunting,
but I wanted to come up solutions. I decided to minor in environmental studies,
focusing when possible on courses in corporate sustainability. The Summer of 2011, I had the opportunity to study renewable energy in Germany. Although the course was less than a month long, the impacts had a lasting effect on my education and engagement on campus.
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>