Oregon Solar News

"No bill moves in the legislature without a champion, after 32 years I’m convinced of that."

That’s what Oregon Senate President Peter Courtney said to me recently (paraphrased) while describing the 2007 bill to amend Oregon’s famous and aging Bottle Bill. In 2007 the legislature amended the Bottle Bill to include water bottles--nearly 20 years after bottled water became popular. Why twenty years later? At least partially, according to the Senate President, because 2007 was when a single Senator made reforming the bottle bill their top priority. That legislator was the issue’s champion.

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Oregon Solar Review - June 2016

Click here to ready June 2016 Oregon Solar Review

Action Needed: RETC under threat to expire

SUBJECT: Gov Brown is suggesting that the RETC expire
ACTION: READ BELOW - email us your stories and data about the benefits of the RETC over the past decade.
DEADLINE: July 10, 2016

OSEIA Members,

Late Friday evening, OSEIA got a letter that the Governor sent to the Joint Legislative Committee on ODOE Oversight that, among other things, suggested letting the Residential Energy Tax Credit (RETC) expire. While the letter also says we need to do stuff about climate, it doesn't say what or whether the spending level would be equivalent to RETC.
There was a meeting today with the ODOE Oversight committee, OSEIA was there, and while nothing specific happened there is alot of work ahead of us and we do need your support. We are optimistic!
For now - please email us your stories and data specifically regarding how the RETC has impacted your business, employees and customers over the past decade. Feel free to mention employee growth, revenue data, importance of the RETC to encourage homeowners to go solar and other supporting information.
Email your letters on your company letterhead to Meghan@oseia.org, Jeff@oseia.org or Craig@oseia.org before July 10, 2016.

Questions? Please ask.

Governor Letter on RETC et al

SolarWorld Launches Bifacial Solar Module

Bifacial is back. Gone are the days of the $4/watt HIT bifacial modules that some of you may remember from years ago, commonly found on niche carports and awning structures. SolarWorld has launched its Bisun module, which generates electricity both from direct exposure to solar radiation on the front side of the module as well as reflected sunlight on the back side. While bifacial technology has existed for years, SolarWorld has developed a way to manufacture bifacial cells by adjusting three steps in its p-type, passive emitter rear cell (PERC) manufacturing process. Using standard materials and manufacturing processes enables SolarWorld to offer Bisun modules to the mass market at competitive prices, from commercial rooftops to ground-mounted solar farms.

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Oregon's Large Scale PV Incentive (HB 4037)

HB 4037 of 2016 created the Solar Incentive Program for utility-scale solar development. The bill directs Oregon's Business Development Department (the Department) to establish and administer a program to provide a production incentive to solar developers, and establishes the Solar Incentivization Fund to provide the incentives.

Solar photovoltaic systems located in Oregon with a capacity between 2 and 10 MW are eligible for a $0.005 per kilowatt hour (kWh) incentive. The systems must become operational after January 1, 2016 but within a year of enrollment in the program. The incentives are paid monthly and will continue for a period of five years. If a system fails to produce electricity within two years of its enrollment, it will forfeit participation in the incentive program.

Individual owners or operators of solar PV systems may enroll projects up to a cumulative capacity of 35 MW. Utilities (both investor-owned and publicly-owned) are eligible to participate as system owners.

The program will close to new applicants January 2, 2017 or when the cumulative capacity of projects enrolled in the program reaches 150 MW.

A Business Case for Thriving Culture

Many of us have heard the buzz about ‘corporate culture’ and the importance of focusing on team communication and employee well-being. The 'HR-stuff', as someone said to me at the Oregon Solar Energy Conference in May. In corporate environments, this is clearly the norm, and it’s a rare company that doesn’t have this on their radar, with a budget to match. But in solar, it’s a different conversation, particularly for small and medium-sized owner-operated outfits.

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​“Amp Up” Solar’s Political Voice!

6.10.16 - OSEIA has started the Oregon SolarPAC as a way to strengthen solar’s political voice in Oregon. While OSEIA and many solar advocates have been involved in the legislative process, pushing the solar agenda, we will be much more effective if we can start policy conversations with decision-makers during the campaign season before the legislative session starts. We can also begin to identify and support policymakers who are or become solar champions.

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Policy Update

6.10.16 - Earlier this year, the legislative arena was the main focus of activity on the policy front. Since the legislature adjourned in February, the policy activity has moved to the Public Utility Commission. Rulemaking is getting underway around the expanded Renewable Energy Standard, community solar, and small-scale renewables.

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Welcome to Erica and Max!

6.10.16 - OSEIA has always been a busy place and it’s becoming even busier. Two solar champions have joined the OSEIA crew to help out on some important projects.

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My Solar Story- Laura Klement

When I was in architecture school, my main interests were sustainability and green building at the residential scale. After college, realizing that I did not really know how buildings were put together, I joined an AmeriCorps crew constructing homes with Habitat for Humanity which involved a move from Minnesota to Oregon. After learning how to build new homes, I became interested in how to make existing homes more energy efficient. So I attended a volunteer orientation at the Community Energy Project and within the next week or so, I was offered a position there. I initially taught the lead poisoning prevention workshops and then later transitioned to the in-homes crew where we installed safety items and basic weatherization kits. After that I worked for a few different contractors teaching homeowners about more advanced energy efficiency measures that would help improve their homes. Working in renewable energy was the next logical step and I really wanted to work in the field again so I decided to become a solar installer.

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Policy Update 6/24/16

Maybe it’s the July 4th/Independence Day holiday coming up but the saying from the American Revolution has been on my mind for the past few days. With apologies to Thomas Jefferson (who said “eternal vigilance is the price of freedom”), we’ve learned recently that we need to be ready for anything as we build a stronger solar industry in Oregon.

On June 24, Gov. Kate Brown sent a letter to the Joint Legislative Committee on Oversight of the Oregon Department of Energy that acknowledged the continuing shadow of the now-defunct Business Energy Tax Credit and called for allowing the Residential Energy Tax Credit and some other incentive programs to expire as they are scheduled to at the end of 2017... Read more

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Ready to advance your career in Oregon’s solar industry?
Ready to advance your career in Oregon’s solar industry?

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>