December 2014 Newsletter
Thank you to our newsletter sponsor

In This Issue:
Looking Back, Looking Forward
New Solar Oregon Board Members
Solar Ready Toolkit Released
Volunteer Spotlight: Sasha Tenzin
Solar Shout Outs!
Upcoming Events
Professional Member Recognition
Reminders: Northwest Solar Communities Recognition
Join Solar Oregon

Looking Back, Looking Forward    

More than eighty people crowded into the Lucky Lab Brew Pub for the Solar Oregon annual meeting to hear about solar financing models and Solar Oregon's accomplishments and plans for the future. Our members heard from our allies at Solar Power Rocks, Solar Universe of Oregon, SolarCity, Stelcor Energy, and Sunrun about different ways to go about financing solar installation, and the communications challenges related to them.

Solar Oregon's Executive Director Evan Manvel reviewed the year's accomplishments, including providing workshops to nearly 400 attendees, holding our best-attended Solar Now! University conference ever, building a best practices guide for Oregon cities interested in making solar installation easier and cheaper, and holding our first Cocktail Social with Governor Kitzhaber's Energy Advisor Margi Hoffmann.

In 2015 and beyond, Solar Oregon is planning to push for a large increase in solar installations before the Federal solar tax credit runs out,in 2016, work to recognize solar-friendly communities for their work, support neighborhood Solarize! campaigns, boost our Solar Ambassadors program, and get more news stories about solar. We also are working with the Solar Works for Oregon coalition at the Oregon State legislature to extend the Residential Energy Tax Credit and boost the state's support for commercial and utility solar. And we'll continue our in-person outreach with workshops, tabling, and events such as Solar Drinks, the Solar Winery Tour, and a big Solar Now! University conference in June.

From inspiration to installation, we're dedicated to bringing a clean energy future to this place we call home.

Happy holidays from all of us at Solar Oregon!

Solar Oregon Welcomes New Board Members

At our annual meeting Solar Oregon members elected four new board members. New to the board are Claire Carlson, Kevin Duell, Andy Noel and Jim Walls. Over the next couple of months we'll be introducing you to the new team members. This month, join us in welcoming Jim Walls and Claire Carlson to the board:

Jim Walls is the Executive Director of Lake County Resources Initiative (LCRI), a non-profit that works on natural resource projects that include federal forest management, biomass, geothermal, solar, wind and small hydro projects in south-central Oregon. Jim has served on the Oregon's Renewable Energy Working Group and Oregon Way Advisory Group for federal stimulus groups. Before coming to LCRI, Jim retired from the Natural Resource Conservation Service after 33 years.


Claire Carlson has over 10 years of strategic management experience covering a broad range of fields, focusing on energy efficiency and renewable energy for the last 5 years. A native Oregonian, she graduated from Portland State with a degree in Political Science and studied European Economic Policy at Universitat Pompeu Fabra in Barcelona, Spain. She spent several years working in the legal field specializing in litigation defense before returning to school to pursue GIS.

As Executive Director of Solar Oregon she worked to connect individuals and business across the state with the information they need to make informed decisions about solar energy. During her time at Solar Oregon she led and supported more than 20 solar bulk purchase programs installing over 3.5 MW of distributed residential and small commercial solar and directly managed and won over 50 grants and contracts for public and private entities. Her work in the solar energy field has gained her a reputation as a trusted source of information bringing together government, utility and private stakeholders to lead the way to a clean energy future. Currently Claire is applying her experience to drive program development and innovation for Lockheed Martin and Energy Trust of Oregon's Existing Multifamily Program.  In her free time Claire is outdoors as much as possible and you can usually find her on a river paddling and competing in Dragon Boat and Outrigger Canoe racing. 
Solar Ready Toolkit Released

For the past year Solar Oregon has been an active member of the Northwest Solar Communities initiative, a coalition of over 30 jurisdictions, utilities, and solar industry partners working to make rooftop solar more cost effective in the Pacific Northwest. As one of eight teams working under the U.S. Department of Energy's Rooftop Solar Challenge II, a nationwide effort to drive down the "soft costs" (non-equipment cost) of rooftop solar installations, Northwest Solar Communities has been working to streamline and standardize solar installation processes and create a unified solar business corridor across the two-state area.

We're pleased to release the Solar Ready Toolkit, a set of templates and information to support jurisdictions, utilities, and installers in lowering solar soft costs. Toolkit elements include:
  • Permitting: Tools for Building Departments, Code Officials, Inspectors
  • Interconnection: Tools for Utility Engineers, Regulators
  • Financing: Tools for Solar Installers, Consumers
  • Planning & Zoning: Tools for Planners
Additional tools and templates will be added in 2015. You can access the current Solar Ready Toolkit HERE.
Volunteer Spotlight: Sasha Tenzin
Sasha Tenzin

This month we recognize Sasha Tenzin, who this fall has helped out at outreach events and in the office.


Sasha is an events coordinator at the International Living Future Institute, a multi-faceted built environment non profit. Prior to joining the Institute, Sasha helped developed leadership skills in students focused on renewable energy careers at non profit, Focus the Nation. Growing up in Alaska laid the groundwork for her path towards environmental stewardship, where she quickly learned that an anthropocentric lifestyle had a direct impact on the health of the natural land and waterscapes. In her spare time, Sasha knits, watches too many documentaries, bakes, and explores the wilderness of Oregon. Her recent favorite hike was Cape Lookout, near Tillamook, Oregon. 


Thanks for you help, Sasha!

If you're interested in volunteering, whether it be helping out with tabling at an outreach educational event, supporting our social media efforts, developing components of our soon to launch "Solar Sprint" campaign, or coming into the office to help with office tasks, let us know. Email us or fill out this application to become involved. 

Solar Shout Outs!

We're on pace to install 6.5 gigawatts of solar capacity this year in the U.S. as "third-quarter solar installations in the U.S. jumped 41 percent from a year earlier, including a record number of residential systems".

There is more evidence that solar increases home values (and attractiveness to home-buyers) as a new report shows that solar homes more faster and sell for more than non-solar homes in Arizona.

"In a new report, the Environment America Research and Policy Center seeks to visualize and quantify this potential as it pertains to the United States. The report argues that the U.S. "has the potential to produce more than 100 times as much electricity from #solar PV and concentrating solar power (CSP) installations as the nation consumes each year." It adds that every single state could generate more solar electricity than its residents currently consume."

Lastly, we're always excited when people let us know about interesting and beautiful architectural projects that involve solar. One of our recent favorites is use of PV as energy production and shading at the Pico Branch Library in California.
Upcoming Solar Events

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. 

Solar Drinks
With 2015 right around the corner, a new year of Solar Drinks is being scheduled. Solar Drinks are an opportunity for folks to meet other community members who support renewable energy. Come join us for a relaxed social and networking event where you can speak with Solar Oregon staff, solar industry members, and your neighbors about any topic under the sun! Our friends at the Joinery in SE Portland will host the first Solar Drinks of the 2015 on February 4th. Look for more details about the February event in next month's newsletter. Know of great place where we should host a Solar Drinks later in the year? Interested in hosting or sponsoring a future gathering in the Portland area or beyond? Let us know.
New and Renewing Professional Members 

Solar Oregon thanks our new and renewing professional members!


Hammer & Hand

Solar Universe Portland     
Bend, Oregon City
Syncro Solar Portland

  To learn more about professional membership click here.

Reminder: Gain Recognition as a Northwest Solar Community!

There is still time for your community to apply for Northwest Solar Communities (NSC) recognition. 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. Jurisdictions making progress on reducing soft cost are invited 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.
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