October 2014 Newsletter
Thank you to our newsletter sponsor

In This Issue:
You're Invited to our Cocktail Social!
Solar Advocates Unite to Improve Community Solar
Gain Recognition as a Northwest Solar Community
Streamlining Permitting for Rooftop Solar

Solar Water Heating Incentive Change

Upcoming Solar Oregon Events
Upcoming Partner Event
Solar Shout Outs!
Join Solar Oregon


You're Invited to Solar Oregon's Annual Cocktail Social!

Solar Oregon and Tonkon Torp Entrepreneurial Services Group are hosting a fabulous cocktail social on Wednesday, October 29th. We hope you and your friends will join as we celebrate solar energy in Oregon and hear from our guest speaker Margi Hoffmann, Governor John Kitzhaber's Energy Policy Advisor.


Your ticket gets you two feature cocktails from Rolling River Spirits and New Deal Distillery, delectable hors d'oeuvres and networking with the finest solar energy advocates in Portland.


Tonkin Torp LLP,

888 SW 5th Ave Suite 1600, Portland 

October 29th, 5:30 to 7:30 pm,  $30
Get your ticket early!  Space is limited.

Solar Advocates Unite to Improve Community Solar

Not all Oregonians can install solar at their home, and those who have may want to buy more solar. Community solar can overcome these challenges by bringing together a group of people to jointly fund a solar project. Solar Oregon is working with others to make community solar a reality here.

After the Oregon legislature passed a law to make solar co-ops (one type of community solar) similar to agricultural, fishing, and grocery co-ops, the Department of Consumer and Business Services (DCBS) drafted administrative rules to implement it. Unfortunately, the initial draft fell short, setting severe limits on advertising the availability of community solar projects, low limits on investment, and a too-narrow definition of who could be considered as part of the cooperative community.

Solar Oregon joined with Oregonians for Renewable Energy Progress and others to advocate for better rules. To DCBS's credit, most of the solar advocates' suggestions were implemented in the final version of the rules. We expect at least a half-dozen community solar projects to move forward soon.

If you're looking from more information on community solar one of our partners in advocating for better rules, the Green Energy Institute at Lewis and Clark Law School, has a new blog focusing on renewable energy policy. We particularly recommend Kyra Hill's pieces introducing community solar and talking about the existing community solar models, including the co-op model.

Expect more news as community solar continues to move forward!
Gain Recognition as a Northwest Solar Community!

Solar Oregon is excited to announce the launch of the Northwest Solar Communities (NSC) recognition program. NSC is a coalition of over 30 jurisdictions, utilities, and solar industry partners, working to make rooftop solar more cost effective in the Pacific Northwest. By tackling the soft costs of solar (non-equipment cost), jurisdictions and utilities can improve customer service, increase operational efficiency, and promote local business activity in their communities.
Our coalition has developed a series of best practices and template solutions (see below) which, if widely adopted, would significantly ease the paperwork burden of solar installations. We want to promote the best practices and recognize all jurisdictions that are on the path to becoming "Open for Solar Business." The effort is funded by the US Department of Energy's Rooftop Solar Challenge II, which aims to make solar energy cost competitive with grid energy by 2020.

In early 2015, the Governors of Oregon and Washington will each issue a proclamation recognizing jurisdictions in their states that have achieved Northwest Solar Community status. Jurisdictions are encouraged to apply for recognition. In addition to being featured in the governors' proclamations, the communities will be highlighted on the Northwest Solar Communities website, and will be able to use Northwest Solar Communities designation in their official communications. For more information on the recognition and application process visit the NSC website.
Streamlining Permitting for Rooftop Solar

One of the significant challenges in bringing down the cost of residential solar is the solar permitting process of different jurisdictions. Requirements and processes vary by location and information is not always readily available, leading to inefficiencies for installers and permitting jurisdictions. Solar Oregon, in collaboration with our partners on the permitting work group of Northwest Solar Communities, had been tasked with developing a standard process that reduces permitting time and cost while ensuring system safety. One of the tools that we developed was the Oregon Permit Packet- information, examples, and checklists to support jurisdictions in implementing their respective state codes.The Oregon Permit Packet can be accessehere.

Solar Water Heating Incentive Change

Energy Trust of Oregon recently announced that it will discontinue the Solar Water Heating program and solar water heating cash incentives for residential and commercial customers. This decision stems from the Energy Trust and the Oregon Public Utility Commission reviews of the cost-effectiveness of certain energy-efficiency measures. Given the low cost of natural gas and other factors, they determined the solar water and pool heating investments are no longer passing the cost-effectiveness tests. The final deadline for submitting residential and commercial solar water heating and solar pool heating incentive applications to Energy Trust is November 7, 2014, at 5:00 p.m. PST. This decision will have no impact on the availability of incentives for solar electric projectsWhile Energy Trust incentives will no longer be available for Solar Water heating, there are still two significant incentives available:

  • Oregon Residential Energy Tax Credit (Oregon Department of Energy): $0.60 per rated kWh savings for the first year, up to $1,500.
  • Federal Income Tax Credit: 30 percent of installed cost.
Together, these two tax credits can bring down the cost of an average residential solar water hearing system by more than 40%.
Upcoming Solar Oregon Events

Solar Oregon Cocktail Social
Join us as we enjoy cocktails from Rolling River Spirits and New Deal Distillery, delectable hors d'ouvres and networking with the finest solar energy advocates in Portland.
Tonkin Torp LLP, 
888 SW 5th Ave, Portland
October 29, 5:30 to 7:30 pm, $30
November Solar Drinks/Annual Meeting
November's Solar Drinks will be combined with our Annual Meeting.
2012 Annual Meeting
Join other Solar Oregon members and supporters to socialize, hear about a current topic in solar energy, elect Solar Oregon board members, and grab a beer. No-host beer and wine bar for this free event. Click here to become a member or renew your membership.
Lucky Lab
1945 NW Quimby St, Portland
November 15, 1:00 to 3:00
RSVP here to let us know you're coming!

Basics of Residential Solar Workshops
These free workshops cover the basics of why solar is a smart choice for Oregon homeowners, how well solar works in Oregon's climate, identify available solar technologies, how financial incentives may cover 70-80% of the cost, and discuss how to go about choosing a contractor. 
Beaverton: October 15th
Hillsboro: October 28th
Corvallis: November 3rd
Tigard: November 5th
SW Portland: November 16th
Happy Valley: November 17th
Gresham: November 19th
For more details and to RSVP, visit our workshop offerings site.
Upcoming Partner Events

Solar Shout Outs!
The Omey House in North Portland

Solar Oregon Board member Corey 
Omey's house was recognized as architectural gem by Portland Monthly. Congrats Corey! 

Thanks Free Greek! Solar Oregon recently received a new computer and printer thanks to the fine folks at Free Greek. If you have used technology to donate or want to volunteer to refurbish tech, contact Free Geek today... it goes to a good cause!

Last month's special Solar Drinks with Drive Oregon, Driving on Sunshine, was a big success! If you missed the event, read the recap and look through the presentations to learn more about the intersections between the PV and EV markets. Thanks to our speakers from SolarWorld, Schneider Electric, and SolarCity and to Drive Oregon for co-hosting.
Join Solar Oregon Today! 

Solar Oregon works hard to get solar built in Oregon. But we can't do our work without the support of people like you! For 35 years, we've been making solar happen with workshops, tours, technical support, trainings, education, outreach, research, and advocacy. But we've still got a long way yet to go until Oregon's clean energy future is secure.

We'd love to have you as a member -- please consider joining today!

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1231 NW Hoyt St. Suite 402
Portland, OR 97209