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SolarWorld is one of the founding donors to support Portland's solar future | Northamerica

SolarWorld is one of the founding donors to support Portland's solar future

SolarWorld joined Portland Mayor Charlie Hales to launch Solar Forward, a crowd-sourced campaign to pay for solar installations at some of Portland’s most beloved public spaces. The largest U.S. solar manufacturer since 1975, SolarWorld is one of five founding donors that together have pledged more than $20,000 to seed the clean-energy fund.

The first revolving solar fund in the city’s history, Solar Forward will finance construction of solar arrays on Portland’s community centers, schools and libraries.  The city invites individuals and organizations to join the founding donors – among them, SolarWorld, Portland Development Commission, Portfolio 21 Investments, Umpqua Bank and Wells Fargo – in giving tax-free donations to support the city’s solar future.

Portland’s innovation is not alone among new models for ownership of solar energy. Community solar is an evolving movement in U.S. cities, including Portland; Seattle; Denver; Sacramento, Calif.; Austin, Texas; and Chicago. While other states’ programs offer financial benefits to community solar subscribers, such as a credit on their electric bills or monetary returns on investment, Oregon’s rules and regulations do not allow these types of financial benefits. Solar Forward is a voluntary, donation-based campaign.

“In Portland we have chance for the first time to join as an entire community and put solar on some of our most beloved public spaces,” Mayor Hales said.  “Joining us in this community solar campaign is both a simple gesture and a powerful expression of our shared future.  It's a way for all of us to show that there are still places in the world that value community above self.”

Earlier this year, Portland’s Bureau of Planning and Sustainability (BPS) received a $100,000 grant from the Oregon Community Foundation to establish Solar Forward and install a 10-kilowatt solar installation at Portland Parks and Recreation’s Southwest Community Center. This pilot installation features SolarWorld’s high-performance monocrystalline solar panels manufactured just 15 miles away at the company’s U.S. manufacturing headquarters in Hillsboro.

“As engaged members of the greater Portland community, we at SolarWorld wholeheartedly support the vision of Solar Forward:  a Portland where pervasive solar power contributes to clean air, a healthy planet and a robust local economy,” said Mukesh Dulani, U.S. president of SolarWorld.

Once Solar Forward has raised $50,000, BPS will install solar panels at Portland Public School’s Oliver P. Lent Elementary School in Portland’s Lents neighborhood. Additional sites will be announced prior to future fundraising cycles.

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Posted by Gisela Bühl | 2013-12-04