With the new year, there’s a new opportunity to bring solar energy to communities across Oregon: The application period for the state’s new Oregon Community Solar Program has begun.
Starting January 2, solar developers, municipalities, homeowner associations, public agencies, community organizations, tribes and other groups interested in developing community solar projects can register as project managers and begin to create their project pre-certification applications. These applications may be submitted for pre-certification by the Oregon Public Utility Commission starting on January 21.
Managed by the Oregon Public Utility Commission, the Community Solar Program gives Oregon customers of Portland General Electric, Pacific Power and Idaho Power a new way to go solar. Customers can subscribe to a portion of a community solar project and receive a credit on their monthly utility bill for the electricity generated from their portion.
“This program creates opportunities for diverse communities to benefit from clean, renewable power,” said Tamara Perry, a senior project manager with Energy Solutions, the administrator of the Oregon Community Solar Program. “For example, community solar is a great option for renters, people who live in multifamily buildings, homeowners that can’t serve their full energy needs with rooftop solar, and other customers who want to use clean energy but may not have a sunny roof of their own, or the means to invest in a rooftop system.”
Community solar projects are solar electric systems between 25kW and 3MW in size. They can be located on buildings – like businesses, government buildings, schools or churches – or free-standing in an undeveloped area.
To further support smaller organizations, public entities or nonprofits that want to participate in the Oregon Community Solar Program, Energy Trust recently launched new Community Solar Development Assistance incentives. If organizations lack experience developing renewal energy projects, they may need additional assistance to bring their community solar project to fruition. The Community Solar Development Assistance incentives help get their projects off the ground and increase their chances for success.
The Oregon Community Solar Program is managed by the Oregon Public Utility Commission and administered through a contract with Energy Solutions. Energy Trust has a subcontract with Energy Solutions to support some aspects of program development and delivery, including project manager registration, project certification, customer service and consumer protection.
Residents and businesses interested in participating in the Community Solar Program and subscribing to a portion of a solar system should sign up on the program website to be notified when projects are ready to enroll customers.
For more information about the Oregon Community Solar Program, to register as a project manager, or submit a project proposal, visit www.oregoncsp.org.
Don’t forget: Energy Trust solar incentives are also available for individuals and businesses interested in installing solar panels on their homes or buildings.