How Does Solar Fit Into Our Oregon Communities?

Solar energy, or solar photovoltaic (pv), systems quietly produce the cleanest electric energy on our planet. Solar pv systems have the least negative impact on our environment compared to any other energy source. Oregon’s communities benefit from solar energy in a few key ways;  the electric grid benefits from solar energy, Oregon’s economy benefits from solar energy, and our environment benefits from solar energy.

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Solar comes in a variety of forms and sizes as illustrated by the five solar markets Oregon currently supports - residential, commercial, utility scale, community solar, and solar + storage (S+S). Click below to learn more about each market.

Utility

The utility solar sector is critical for reaching economies of scale more quickly and are the least cost solar energy per kilowatt hour and are between 2 MW - 100s of MW.

  • Provides revenue opportunities to landowners on land that may not be as useful for farming

  • Municipalities and counties realize financial benefits through taxes

  • Dual use solar allows for farming and energy production on the same site

  • Cost reduction strategies are leveraged by the other sectors, reducing costs in all market sectors

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Residential

Residential solar systems are installations at residential homesites, usually rooftop, sometimes ground mount and are between 3kW - 10kW in size.

  • Improving home value 

  • Lowering monthly utility bills

  • Reducing carbon footprint

  • Energy independence, especially when paired with battery storage

 

Commercial

Commercial solar systems are installations at commercial, business and industrial sites, usually rooftop, sometimes ground mount and are between 5kW - 2 MW in size.

  • Power operations with energy from the sun

  • Return on Investment (ROI)

  • Improve brand recognition and show commitment to a sustainable future

  • Employee pride and satisfaction

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Community Solar

Community solar is a subset of utility solar that provides anyone with an electricity bill – residential or non-residential - an opportunity to share in the costs and benefits of solar generation when unable to access at home or work.

  • Enables more equitable access to solar generation and benefits

  • Leverages the economies of scale and more optimal locations

  • Ensures equitable opportunities for participation across customer types

 

Solar plus Storage (S+S)

(from ETO S+S board learning) A solar plus storage system is a hybrid system that combines PV and battery storage in the same location using shared electrical components and controls. 

  • Provide bill savings benefits when paired together

  • Offers backup power when the grid goes down

  • Can contribute to a grid-connected or island-mode microgrid

 

Solar energy benefits Oregon’s communities by creating jobs in local communities. As Oregon’s solar deployment increases, the state’s solar industry expands, creating new jobs for electrical workers, material handlers, and technicians. And solar jobs are not limited to the installation sector—the industry supports jobs in a variety of fields, such as engineering and consulting, for example.