Portland, Oregon, may be known for its long, rainy winters, but a new project from Portland General Electric (PGE) may help the city claim some fame for its sun, as well. The power company’s new 2.4-megawatt rooftop project–the largest rooftop solar project in the Pacific Northwest–is slated to bing PGE’s solar profile to more than 12 megawatts, ranking it 8th in the national for total solar capacity.
A key partner on the rooftop project is ProLogis, a distribution facilities company; the roughly 900,000-square-foot project will cover the roofs of seven ProLogis distribution warehouses in Portland, Gresham, and Clackamas, using UNI-SOLAR “thin-film” solar panels similar to the ones used on the 1.1 megawatt rooftop project PGE and ProLogis completed in 2008. Northwest Solar Solutions, a division of locally-owned Snyder Roofing and the installer for this project, estimates 60,000 hours of union-wage electrical and roofing Oregon jobs will be created by the project–good news for a state currently facing an unemployment rate of nearly 11%.
In 2009, PGE–along with partners U.S. Bank, ProLogis, and the Oregon Department of Transportation–earned a Solar Business Achievement Award from the Solar Electric Power Association for being the first utility in the nation to develop a third-party ownership model to large-scale solar projects like this one. “The financial model we developed for these projects allows PGE to bring renewable energy resources online for our customers at a much lower cost than we would be able to build otherwise,” said Carol Dillin, vice president of customers and economic development at PGE, in a statement. “We will continue to work hard to keep energy costs as low as possible for our customers while meeting state energy standards.”