CherryWood Village has become Oregon’s first senior living community to embrace solar technology as a way to offset utility costs. The addition of solar panels on the top of the 12 acre retirement center is expected to reduce the electricity bills of the facility by 25% each year. Northwest Photon Energy (NWPE) installed the 92.4 kilowatt system which will generate over 100,000 kWh of power each year to serve the main and office buildings.
Funded by a variety of initiatives, including the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, a special grant from the Energy Trust of Oregon, state business tax credits, and private funding from a subsidiary of Umpqua Bank, CherryWood Village is expecting to pay off the total cost of the project in just five years.
Helping produce power for the 320 unit community, the total cost of installing the solar panels was around $500,000, however, the partners hope to see a $15,000 savings on electrical costs each year. Even though Oregon is well-known for its cloudy days, on which the system can only produce at 25% of its peak capacity, the project should pay for itself well before major upgrades would be needed.