Over the last few months, you may have seen crews putting the finishing touches on the large solar-panel structure at the MAX turnaround near Portland State University (also clearly visible from I-405). Last week, we flipped the switch, and we’re happy to report it is up and running!
The new clean-energy system has 253 solar panels that will generate more than 64,000 kilowatt hours of electricity and shave nearly $5,000 off of our power bill each year. Plus, it serves as an eye-catching landmark for the south end of Downtown. It’s the largest solar project in Downtown, and the first on a MAX line.
Our overall contribution to the project was just $4,702, so our investment will be recouped within the first year of the system’s operation.
We sought and received a grant from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act to build the $1.2 million steel structure surrounding the utility buildings at the MAX turnaround.
The design of the solar array, and other environmentally friendly features, helped the project win approval from the City of Portland’s planning and sustainability commission. In particular, the project was praised for obscuring views of the pre-fabricated utility buildings.
Incentives and tax credits will reduce the $366,000 cost of installing the panels by more than 70 percent. The installation will receive an $85,591 incentive from Energy Trust of Oregon and a $42,795 grant from PGE’s Clean Wind fund. The project is also pre-certified by the Oregon Department of Energy to receive a Business Energy Tax Credit (BETC). Over the next few months, we will identify a business “passthrough partner” willing to take the tax credit, spread over five years, in exchange for a $134,765 payment to us.
The solar panels were manufactured by SolarWorld in Hillsboro and installed by REC Solar.