As the state of Oregon continues its push for a greener future, local community colleges are seeing the benefit of community solar. The Oregon Community Solar Program recently welcomed Portland and Chemeketa community colleges, who will use the generated electricity to offset utility costs. As part of the program, the colleges signed into a subscription with the Tigard-based solar organization, Oregon Shines.
According to the subscription agreement with Oregon Shines, the colleges are expected to receive a total of 5.7-megawatts of power, or 205,000,000 kilowatt-hours of energy, through the community solar program. Their subscription is planned to last throughout the duration of the program.
According to Briar Schoon, Portland Community College’s Sustainability Manager, the school is looking forward to new and innovative ways of reducing its carbon footprint. Schoon states that the agreement with Oregon Shines should reduce the school’s footprint by approximately 10%.
Established in 2016, the Oregon Community Solar Program was created as part of state legislature. It officially launched in January 2020 through a collaboration between stakeholders like the Oregon Public Utility Commission and the Oregon Solar Energy Industries Association (OSEIA).
Of the 5.7-megawatts of energy, Portland Community College is subscribed to 1.88-megawatts of it, which will come from three different solar projects in the Portland General Electric area. Based on the college’s energy use, its participation in the program will offset nearly 60,000,000 kilowatt-hours of electricity during its participation.
Schoon praised the program, stating it would have a significant impact on Oregon’s future. He states that community college’s’ subscription will inspire local companies and larger corporations to participate in the program after noting the benefits. With annual savings and an affordable means of reaching sustainability goals, it’s a renewable energy option that will benefit any business across many industries, as well as residential communities.