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Ashland Chamber

Ignore the naysayers; we can all benefit from Solar electricity generation

ODF Solar Panels


Think you can’t go solar? Think again! Find out how you can score huge savings from solar energy even if you cannot install panels on your own home.

Renewable energy is paying back the investment in its installation more quickly than ever as prices come down and various rebates/credits encourage it. The average payback time in the U.S. is about ten years with an annual savings of some $2,000. Since solar panels have a life expectancy of more than 25 years, and generally require minimal maintenance, financial savings for the average homeowner could involve many years of pure gravy.

Unfortunately, not everyone can install solar panels on their roof. Some roofs are shaded or have the wrong orientation, some roofs need repair so cannot support the panels. Meanwhile, apartment dwellers just cannot install panels. But help is on the way!

It is possible for those of us who cannot install solar panels to invest in a community solar project and achieve the same goals. The strategy involves some entity acquiring land that is amenable to solar generation and is near electricity grid access to install a field of solar panels and invite others to invest in them. The solar farm, including our solar panels, is cheaper to build because of economies of scale, meaning additional savings for residents. Our solar farm pumps electricity into the grid replacing electricity we use. So long as the community solar farm is connected  to the same grid from which we take our electricity (for most of us in Jackson County, this means the PacificCorp grid), we can invest in enough solar panels to offset the electricity we use. This also works for renters who move since they can continue to reap rewards in their new home so long as it’s also within the Pacific Power service area.

Solarize Rogue, a local non-profit that has already perfected this approach, with its partner, the Oregon Clean Power Coop, has completed a community solar project featuring panels installed on the roof of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival Production Building in Talent. They have pioneered this approach and ironed out the wrinkles. That project generates 141 kW and powers the homes of 16 Rogue Valley residents including serving to 2 low-income valley residents.

Solarize Rogue is now scaling up with a project located in Chiloquin, again serving the Pacific Power Utility area but many more homes. Thus, anyone within the Pacific Power area will be eligible to invest in the new project and reap the benefits.

Southern Oregon Climate Action Now’s Jacksonville Climate Action Team i with Solarize Rogue will provide information about this opportunity. Ray Sanchez-Pescador, President of Solarize Rogue and a major driving force behind the first Certified community solar project in Pacific Power territory, also the first “Participant-Owned” project in the State, will explain how we can benefit from this project. The open public meeting will be held on January 19th from 5:30-7:00 pm. at the Jacksonville Public Library (340 W C St). This event is neither sponsored by, nor endorsed by Jackson County Library Services.


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