Fund will support solar arrays at city schools, community centers and libraries
HILLSBORO, Ore., Dec. 3, 2013 – 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.
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 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."
Earlier this year, Portland's Bureau of Planning and Sustainability (BPS) received a $100,000 grant from the Oregon Community Foundation to establish Solar Forward and install a 10-kilowatt solar installation at Portland Parks and Recreation's Southwest Community Center. This pilot installation features SolarWorld's high-performance monocrystalline solar panels manufactured just 15 miles away at the company's U.S. manufacturing headquarters in Hillsboro.
"As engaged members of the greater Portland community, we at SolarWorld wholeheartedly support the vision of Solar Forward: a Portland where pervasive solar power contributes to clean air, a healthy planet and a robust local economy," said Mukesh Dulani, U.S. president of SolarWorld.
Once Solar Forward has raised $50,000, BPS will install solar panels at Portland Public School's Oliver P. Lent Elementary School in Portland's Lents neighborhood. Additional sites will be announced prior to future fundraising cycles.
SolarWorld AG manufactures solar power systems and in doing so contributes to a cleaner energy supply worldwide. The company, located in Bonn, employs approximately 2,500 people and carries out production in Freiberg, Germany, and Hillsboro, USA. From raw material silicon to the solar module, SolarWorld manages all stages of production ‒ including its own research and development. Through an international distribution network, SolarWorld supplies customers all over the world with solar modules and complete systems. The company maintains high social standards at all locations across the globe, and has committed itself to resource- and energy-efficient production. SolarWorld has been publicly traded on the stock market since 1999. More information at www.solarworld-usa.com