Solarize Portland catches fire

| Print |  Email
Archives - December 2009
Sunday, November 22, 2009
Energy_Trust_c0042
An Imagine Energy worker installs solar panels.
PHOTO COURTESY OF ENERGY TRUST

Homeowners in a Southeast Portland neighborhood have banded together to buy and install solar panels, knocking significant chunks off the price through high-volume purchasing. The 6-month-old Solarize Portland program has wildly exceeded expectations.

“We needed 50 homeowners” to provide the bulk purchasing power, says Tim O’Neal, a lead organizer for the project, “and 350 people signed up for site assessments.”

Taking inspiration from a similar project in San Francisco, Solarize Portland, with backing from the Energy Trust of Oregon, found it could purchase and install panels collectively to save up to 25%. That was on top of state and federal tax credits and cash incentives already in place which had reduced the panel price and installation by 80%. The organization then took requests for proposals from 12 trade partners of the trust and settled on Imagine Energy, a Portland consultancy firm.


Jonathan Cohen, founder of Imagine Energy, says the project now under way is by far the biggest his 6-year-old company has handled. “We don’t visit 96 homes in two years, let alone two months,” says Cohen, referring to the number of site inspections his energy firm has completed so far for the project’s grassroots organization. “This is a big opportunity for us,” said Cohen of his 12-employee company. “That is a big uptake in our capabilities.”

Cohen says Imagine Energy gives Solarize Portland members a choice of three types of panels differentiated by design, aesthetics and manufacturing.

He’s confident Imagine Energy will see even more business in the future, and local government and nonprofit organizations agree. “The Energy Trust installed only 152 residential systems in 2008 for the whole state,” says Energy Trust project manager Lizzie Rubado. She says the number of interested parties is so significant that the Energy Trust will apply the Solarize Portland model to homeowners in rural areas.

Lee Rahr, solar program coordinator for the City of Portland, says the city will receive a $400,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Energy to assist similar high-volume projects over the next two years.

WILLIAM E. CRAWFORD
 

More Articles

A legislative preview — and celebration

News
Friday, January 23, 2015
012315-speaker-thumbBY LINDA BAKER | OB EDITOR

The Northwest Environmental Business Council previews the 2015 legislative agenda as Hatch Oregon celebrates Oregon's new community crowdfunding rules.


Read more...

Light Moves

February 2015
Monday, January 26, 2015
BY JACOB PALMER

Fittingly, Light at Play — a business whose sole purpose is to create mesmerizing ambience — was conceived at Burning Man.


Read more...

Corner Office: Timothy Mitchell

January-Powerbook 2015
Saturday, December 13, 2014

A look-in on the life of Norris & Stevens' president, plus an abridged Powerlist for the best commercial real estate firms.


Read more...

Legislative Preview: A Shifting Balance

January-Powerbook 2015
Thursday, December 11, 2014
BY APRIL STREETER

Democratic gains pave the way for a revival of environment and labor bills as revenue reform languishes.


Read more...

Ski traffic

News
Tuesday, January 20, 2015
0121-skiway-thumbBY LINDA BAKER | OB EDITOR

A place-based multimodal transportation plan for Mt. Hood is long overdue.


Read more...

The Human Factor

February 2015
Monday, January 26, 2015
BY BRIAN LIBBY

Matt French opens up South Waterfront.


Read more...

Imperial Palate

February 2015
Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Power Lunch at the Imperial.


Read more...
Oregon Business magazinetitle-sponsored-links-02
SPONSORED LINKS