Home Back Issues December 2009 Solarize Portland catches fire

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

Community colleges and sustainability

Contributed Blogs
Thursday, July 31, 2014
sustainabilityBY MARY SPILDE | OB GUEST CONTRIBUTOR

Faced with the aftermath of the “great recession,” increasing concern about the environment and dwindling family wage jobs, we have some very important choices to make about our future.


Read more...

Is this employee right?

Contributed Blogs
Wednesday, August 13, 2014
081314 thumb employeefeelingsBY TOM COX | OB BLOGGER

When I say, “Your Employee is Always Right,” I do not mean “right about the facts,” but rather “right about how they feel” and “right about how they want to be led.”


Read more...

Oregon Business wins awards

News
Monday, June 30, 2014

ASBPEOregon Business magazine won two silver awards for excellence in writing in the National American Society of Business Publication Editors Western region competition.


Read more...

Q&A: David Lively of Organically Grown Co.

News
Tuesday, July 01, 2014
OGCLogoBY HANNAH WALLACE | OB BLOGGER

Demand for organic food continues to soar: Last year, sales of organic food rose to $32.3 billion — up 10% from 2012. In Oregon, organic produce wholesaler Organically Grown Co. has been championing organic growing methods for four decades.


Read more...

Managing family assets: The importance of planning ahead

News
Friday, August 22, 2014
Unknown-1BY CLIFF HOCKLEY |  OB GUEST CONTRIBUTOR

When business intersects with family, a host of  situations can arise. Without a clear vision and careful planning, hard-earned investments can become stressful burdens.


Read more...

Video: The 100 Best Survey

News
Thursday, August 28, 2014

100-best-logo-2015 500pxw-1OB Research Editor Kim Moore shares some pointers about the 100 Best Companies to Work For survey.


Read more...

Attack of the Robin Sages

Contributed Blogs
Monday, July 07, 2014
070714 thumb linkedinfakesBY TOM COX | OB BLOGGER

Named after the 2010 experiment by Thomas Ryan, "Robin Sages" are fake social media profiles designed to encourage linking and divulging valuable information.


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