SolarWorld joined Portland Mayor Charlie Hales today to launch Solar Forward, a crowd-sourced campaign to pay for solar installations at some of Portland’s most beloved public spaces. The largest U.S. solar manufacturer since 1975, SolarWorld is one of five founding donors that together have pledged more than $20,000 to seed the clean-energy fund.
SolarWorld solar panels power Solar Forward's inaugural installation at Portland's Southwest Community Center. Photo courtesy of the City of Portland. (Photo: Business Wire)
The first revolving solar fund in the city’s history, Solar Forward will finance construction of solar arrays on Portland’s community centers, schools and libraries. The city invites individuals and organizations to join the founding donors – among them, SolarWorld, Portland Development Commission, Portfolio 21 Investments, Umpqua Bank and Wells Fargo – in giving tax-free donations to support the city’s solar future.
Portland’s innovation is not alone among new models for ownership of solar energy. Community solar is an evolving movement in U.S. cities, including Portland; Seattle; Denver; Sacramento, Calif.; Austin, Texas; and Chicago. While other states’ programs offer financial benefits to community solar subscribers, such as a credit on their electric bills or monetary returns on investment, Oregon’s rules and regulations do not allow these types of financial benefits. Solar Forward is a voluntary, donation-based campaign.
“In Portland we have a chance for the first time to join as an entire community and put solar on some of our most beloved public spaces,” Mayor Hales said. “Joining us in this community solar campaign is both a simple gesture and a powerful expression of our shared future. It’s a way for all of us to show that there are still places in the world that value community above self.”