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July 2014


This newsletter reaches over 10,000 solar energy enthusiasts!


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Solar Oregon strives to help all Oregonians achieve a clean energy future by providing public education and community outreach on solar energy as a part of an overall energy conservation and reduction goal


Support solar energy education and outreach in Oregon, including this newsletter!  

 New & Renewing Professional Members 


NewCommAssocSolar Oregon Welcomes New Communications & Grants Associate, Bryce  Magorian



This month we added a new Communications & Grants Associate to help manage our social media, as well as pursue new funding sources. His name is Bryce Magorian. He will be working on strengthening Solar Oregon's brand and increasing our membership through more effective outreach media. Bryce will also represent Solar Oregon to potential new foundation partners.

EVRoadmap7Drive Oregon's EV Roadmap 7 


Widespread electric vehicle adoption requires a supportive "ecosystem" of stakeholders, from utilities and local governments to vehicle OEMs, charging providers, interest groups, and drivers. This collaborative approach - and the technology already embedded in electric vehicles - places electric vehicles at the cutting edge of exciting new developments in connected cars, intelligent transportation systems, and autonomous vehicles.  


Solar Oregon members will receive a $25 discount on registration when they use the promo code "SOLAR." We hope to see you there! 

Meet the TeamMeettheteam












Andria Jacob

Solar Oregon Board Member and Development Committee Chair


Program Manager, Portland Bureau of Planning and Sustainability


Andria Jacob manages a portfolio of clean energy programs for the City of Portland Bureau of Planning and Sustainability. She has 15 years of experience designing and delivering innovative energy efficiency, renewable energy and sustainability programs. Andria helped found Clean Energy Works Oregon and Solarize Portland, both nationally-recognized clean energy programs. 


Andria began her career in energy efficiency at E Source in Boulder, Colorado and worked for Ecos Consulting  in Portland for several years prior to joining BPS. She holds an MA in environmental policy from the University of Colorado at Boulder, and a BA in economics from Lehigh University. When not at work, Andria can be found playing with her son, gardening or curled up with a book.

VolunteerThanksA Letter of Thanks to All SNU Volunteers
Kenn Kochi, Volunteer Coordinator

I'd like to thank all the volunteers that helped out at the conference. Without your help, Solar Oregon's staff would have been unable to run this conference as smoothly as it was. We had 13 volunteers contribute over 130 hours of their time. Many volunteers arrived before the attendees (as early as 6:30am), and stayed late to help clean up. One volunteer even woke up at 4:00am to take the MAX to Hillsboro from Portland. Early starts and late nights made for 12-14 hour days. 


In talking to the volunteers, I found that they all found this experience highly rewarding, enjoyable and educational. Not only were they able to attend certain sessions and educate themselves on various aspects of solar energy, but they also were able to form connections with people in the solar industry. Linda Barnes, a board member of Solar Oregon, commended the volunteers for acting professionally and doing a fantastic job.


I'd like to recognize each of you by name: Nayantara Alailima-Rose, Lori Bokovoy, Carol Chan, Nick Day, Ian Draney, Chuck Fall, Jack Fraser, Linds Fulkerson, Bryce Magorian, Chatham Olive, Walt Silfies, Tim Toenjes and Adam Walters. Thank you again for all the hard work you did!

Volunteer for Solar Oregon!

Contact Volunteer Coordinator Kenn Koichi to find out about upcoming opportunities at  

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For even more Solar Oregon news, check out our website at

SNUReportReport on Solar Now! University 2014

Mac McDowell, Executive Director

It is fair to say that this past Solar Now! University (SNU) conference was a smashing success. Our small team of part-timers and volunteers organized and hosted the biggest and best solar learning conference the region has ever seen. The program was impressive enough to garner national attention, and the quality of the work provided by our staff (particularly by our event coordinator, Holly Murphy) was clearly evident in the scope and details of the event itself. We are happy with the results and proud of what we accomplished!

Over 180 people registered for this event and attended some portion of the conference activities, which is three times the number we've ever seen before.  We raised the bar and exceeded all expectations, especially when compared and contrasted to previous year's events.  In fact, we received support from the U.S. Department of Energy and the National Renewable Energy Lab.  And, because we tied this event to the existing Northwest Solar Communities grant program, we were able to include our partners; Northwest SEED, Washington Department of Commerce, and five Oregon communities selected mini-grant recipients, as participants. 


Simply stated, we delivered a great learning experience for attendees, pushed the NWSC message, supported our local communities, made valuable connections, educated ourselves, and elevated the Solar Oregon brand in the bargain. 


Some of the highlights for me were ...


  • The opening night meet-n-greet event at SolarWorld. A great kick off!  It was well attended, had great eats, and some good wine and beer. Hillsboro's mayor greeted us as did the SolarWorld President. Tours of the SolarWorld factory were provided. Holly said it was just as she imagined it. SolarWorld was a terrific sponsor for this event, and we do thank them!
  • The Solar Oregon Volunteer support. Coordinator Kenn Kochi really came through with a group of volunteers who put in hundreds of hours collectively on this event. At the conference itself some volunteers were the first to arrive for set-up and the last to leave after breakdown. That's a gift!  Thanks again to all of our fabulous volunteers who helped make this a success!
  • The student presentations. Portland State University, Lewis & Clark College and the Oregon Institute of Technology were all represented at the conference. I didn't see them all, but I heard their sessions were well received.
  • I thought the Saturday awards luncheon event was a biggie, but the field trips that followed will probably be more memorable. One bus stopped by Kevin Keene's residence (a SolarWorld employee and a host of the meet-n-greet) so he could show off his own solar array! Meanwhile, another busload visited Hillsboro Jones Farm Firehouse right in the midst of an alarm-engine call. In a flash the station was empty except for our tour group. Luckily, SolarCity's Evan Ramsey was with us, and walked the group across the street to inspect the impressive solar carport at Intel's Jones Farm parking lot - one of his installs.
  • Meeting a man who called himself "Seldom," a real solar pioneer who helped start Solar Oregon.
  • Speaking of pioneers, we were fortunate to have some solarize pioneers sharing their vast experience during Friday's Solarize Track sessions. Mr. Sun's John Patterson, the Energy Trust's Lizzie Rubado, NW Sustainable's Lee Rahr, and Linda Irvine from Northwest SEED all participated, and they are excellent teachers. 
  • As I walked Hillsboro's representative, Peter Brandom, outside the library to talk with a Hillsboro Argus reporter he expressed his amazement at what we accomplished with our limited time and resources. Thank you Peter! The City of Hillsboro was a great host and partner for this event.

Following the conference, we received these emails from Josh Huneycutt of the U.S. DOE who was a Keynote Speaker and presenter at SNU:


"Hi Mac, I've already expressed this to my contacts at WADOC and NWSEED, but I was truly impressed by the event a few weeks ago and the excitement around solar in Oregon, and was honored to have been invited. You all should indeed be proud." 


"I'd like to send a huge "THANK YOU" to all of you out there. I thoroughly enjoyed all of the visits and meetings and learned an impressive amount about the Pacific Northwest's solar landscape. I reported back to the program here that it was one of the most successful awardee visits I've conducted and that there's quite a bit of exciting work taking place out there."


~ Best regards, Joshua Huneycutt | U.S. DOE SunShot Initiative


Please Note: A survey went out to everyone who attended this year's conference. In order to improve the conference in future years, we are asking all attendees to provide a response no later than July 15.


A list of SNU speakers with their presentations can be found here. To review the conference agenda click here.

VolunteeroftheMonth Volunteer of the Month: Ian Draney! 

Ian Draney joined Solar Oregon as a volunteer Data & Information Coordinator last April. He was a main contributor to this year's Solar Now! University conference, whereby he acted as the staffer responsible for the busy Main Event Room, which made for a very long couple of days.


After moving to Portland in 2003, Ian has worked in technical roles with several software and communications companies in the area. In 2010, he decided to change his career focus to solar and renewable energy sources, and later became a dues-paying Solar Oregon member in November of 2013. Recently, he left his position as a Systems Analyst at the Rentrak Corporation and has enrolled in the Electrical Engineering program at Oregon Institute of Technology.


In his spare time, Ian can be found playing his guitar or drum set, swinging a golf club or tennis racquet, or gazing at the stars through his telescope. And, working for Solar Oregon, no doubt!

SolWestThe SolWest Fair and Solar Across Eastern Oregon

Image courtesy of Oregon Rural Action


Solar Oregon had a blast travelling out to Eastern Oregon for the SolWest Fair in La Grande! After 15 years of SolWest Fair being held in John Day, this year it moved to the Union County Fairgrounds in La Grande under the stewardship of our friends at Oregon Rural Action (ORA). The fair lasted three days and hosted workshops, demonstrations, and vendors that focused on renewable energy and sustainability. SolWest was full of learning and networking opportunities. Our own Board members Gene Mills and Doug Boleyn presented, along with dozens of solar gurus around the state. It was exciting to learn from the experts and meet with Eastern Oregonians curious about solar installation. We're looking forward to returning next year!


And there is even more excellent solar news coming out of  Eastern Oregon!


Following successful Solarize campaigns in Union County in 2012 and 2013, ORA is pushing into Malheur and neighboring counties in Idaho for their current Solarize campaign, "Solarize Snake River Valley." With the goal of overcoming the unique financial and logistical hurdles of installing solar in the communities of this area, ORA's "Solarize Snake River Valley" efforts were recently chosen as one of five communities to be awarded $10,000 grants  through Solar Oregon's involvement in Northwest Solar Communities. At Solar Oregon we're excited to see this campaign be successful in a new part of the state, especially with the number of agricultural businesses that have expressed interest. For more information about the "Solarize Snake River Valley" campaign contact ORA Energy Organizer Tova Woyciechowicz at


In Umatilla County, the City of Pendleton continues to offer a no-interest loan program to assist homeowners in financing solar. With more than 300 kW of capacity already installed and a new Solarize campaign in the works, Solar Oregon is looking forward to seeing even more solar in this community with the help of new Solar Ambassadors like Jack Simons.
A Solar Toy Story SolarToyStory 


By Mac McDowell, Executive Director


As we here at Solar Oregon were preparing for the Solar Now! University (SNU) conference I spied a going out of business sign on a local building, so I stopped in and bought several boxes of those Chinese-made plastic solar flowers for a fraction of the retail price. I intended to use them as tabling giveaways. I must admit, I felt a bit awkward bringing these things into the Solar Oregon office. We're for sustainability and these cheaply-made plastic gizmos are likely already filling up landfills across the country. I asked one person if she'd like one and she looked at me suspiciously then said, "I dunno, what does it do?" Nothing really, I answered, it just uses solar power to move the flower from side to side. She replied by noting their abject worthlessness and gave me a no thank you. After that, I questioned my decision to use these solar flowers as a give-away. Unfortunately, at that point volunteers had already painstakingly placed Solar Oregon logo stickers on the vase of each small box, so we passed them out at the conference.


I donated a leftover box of solar flowers for the #putsolaronit Day of Action event to be held the following weekend. This Summer Solstice event was held at the Southwest Community Center in Portland at noon on a Saturday when there's lots of families and children about. Needless to say, the flowers were more popular with this crowd. One of the people to grab a solar flower that day was SNU keynote speaker Mark Pengilly.


Mark wrote me this email in the midst of his summer vacation:

"A story I have to share.  The little solar flower toy that I took away from the day of action arrived safely in Germany.  We are staying with a good friend of mine who lives in a 150-year-old house with his wife, her mother, their daughter and son-in-law, and two grandsons. We gave the solar toy to their two and a half-year old last night. 


This morning he came to me and said it was broken.  'No, I told him, it just needs the sun to shine on it.' We moved to the window. 'See, when you cover up the solar cell, it doesn't work, but when I take my finger away, the sun makes power and it works again.'  His father chimed in, 'It's just like to panels on the barn roof' (pointing). 

Susie told me that a few minutes later that same young boy explained to her how solar energy works. Another generation!"


I didn't see that coming.


Reflecting on this story, I remembered showing my own mother how a solar powered calculator worked. I'm certain it was a cheap plastic calculator made by Sharp (Japan) or Texas Instruments (USA). Everyone in the world knows what I'm talking about. At the time, although the U.S. space program, communications, and the military had used solar power for decades, that solar calculator was the first solar powered application my mother and I had ever experienced first-hand. Like that young German boy I showed off my solar gizmo. I explained how a clean and renewable energy source could generate power, and how I could control it.  Fast forward several decades and look - I'm still doing it.


Point is, we got our message across. We got it all the way across the ocean, and it is amazing how small things can have such meaning. It's important to remember that what we do each and every day has a powerful impact on our society, perhaps even on our world. You never know whom you might influence, or how far that influence might travel. This small contribution through Solar Oregon has already reached beyond my own imagination.


Small things do matter, my friends.

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