Co-op Spurs Solar Energy Developments

Since June of 2002 the Bonneville Environmental Foundation’s Northwest Solar Co-op, which makes residential and business-scale solar systems more affordable, has stimulated twenty-two new local solar projects. The Co-op said their collective capacity of 75 kW makes the program one of the region’s largest sources of solar energy.

Portland Oregon – October 28, 2003 [] “This represents a dramatic increase in new, clean, and renewable solar energy that’s in the ground because of the success of the Co-op,” said Angus Duncan, President of BEF. “Because the Co-op makes solar more affordable, we’ve seen projects go forward that would otherwise have been deferred or dropped. Homeowners and businesses are able to do something that’s good for their own bottom line and good for the environment.” The Solar Co-op creates a revenue stream for homeowners and businesses discouraged by the front-end costs of solar generation. Project owners sell the Green Tags from their new solar installations to BEF through the Northwest Solar Co-op, for up to five years, after which ownership reverts back to the system owner. BEF resells these Green Tags to green power supporters, thus sharing the costs and environmental benefits of the facility with others. “The blackout in the East demonstrates the importance of diversifying the electricity grid and introducing alternatives,” said Doug Boleyn, the Co-op’s Manager. “The Co-op brings new suppliers into the grid, creating a flexibility and independence that results in greater overall reliability. These positive benefits of distributed generation explain why it represents a model for the future. The fact that the power we’re adding is non-polluting makes it even better.” Since forming in 1998, BEF has partnered in the development of approximately 225 kW of solar projects in the Pacific Northwest. BEF launched the Co-op in June of 2002 in a partnership with Cascade Solar, a private consulting firm in Gladstone, Oregon.
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