Solar in NW Communities Receive $1.8 Million Boost from Pacific Power Blue Sky Customers

January 20, 2015


PORTLAND, Ore. — Solar projects will soon help reduce energy costs for buildings in 10 communities across the Northwest, thanks in part to funding from Pacific Power customers who voluntarily participate in the Blue Sky renewable energy program.

Together, the solar projects represent up to $1.8 million new renewable energy investment in 2015, bringing more than 2 megawatts of new renewable energy capacity online. One megawatt of solar serves the average annual energy needs of 200 households. Since 2006, Blue Sky customers have voluntarily funded more than 75 facilities that produce in excess of 6.5 megawatts of emission-free renewable energy, demonstrating the viability of renewable energy in their communities with nearly $8 million in investment during that time.

"Our Blue Sky customers put their dollars to work in their communities," said Pat Reiten, president and CEO of Pacific Power. "Not only will these facilities supply renewable energy, but they are helping increase the visibility and adoption of renewable technology. We are proud to be part of this important partnership with communities and our Blue Sky customers."

"The Blue Sky program which helps fund these projects, has one of the highest voluntary customer participation rates you'll find nationwide," said Blaine Andreasen, vice president of customer service, Pacific Power. "One of the reasons the Blue Sky program is so popular is that customers can choose to participate and then can see what they are getting. In addition to supporting the renewable energy industry and taking personal action, they are helping fund on-the-ground, working renewable projects in their own communities."

Projects receiving funding in 2015 range from arrays connected to Portland's glittering convention center to affordable housing in Prineville to a nursery dedicated to helping the developmentally disabled in Grants Pass.

Oregon Convention Center
Portland, Ore.
Solar, 1.1 megawatt
The Oregon Convention Center hosts an estimated 500,000 local, national, and international visitors per year. The building was retrofitted to meet Platinum LEED certification standards (the first existing building in the U.S. to do so). The planned roof-top solar array will be located on the north side of the center's large flat roof.

Tamastslikt Cultural Institute
Pendleton, Ore.
Solar, 200 kilowatt
The Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation plan to install a solar array at its Tamastslikt Cultural Institute, a museum and event center that receives 20,000 visitors annually. The solar production information will be fed into the existing wind turbine monitoring kiosk located near the main entrance and on the center's website, providing classes and training on renewable energy to the tribal members and local schools. Together, the two Blue Sky funded projects will supply 25 percent of the center's power needs.

Central Oregon Community College - Redmond Campus
Redmond, Ore.
Solar, 504 kilowatt
Central Oregon Community College plans to install a ground-mounted array near the new Technology Education Center that will be integrated into the curriculum. Guided tours will be available for schools and community groups wanting to learn more about solar.

Rogue Valley International Airport
Medford, Ore.
Solar, 36 kilowatt
This project is an expansion of a previously-funded Blue Sky project, nearly doubling the existing solar capacity. The new array will be mounted on a canopy adjacent to three existing solar canopy structures located along the walkway between the parking lot and the main entrance.

Port of Columbia - Blue Mountain Station Artisan Food Center
Dayton, Wash.
Solar, 35.8 kilowatts
In 2013, the Port of Columbia developed the Blue Mountain Station Artisan Food Center, an eco-food processing park dedicated to the recruitment and marketing of artisan food processors. The building was constructed to LEED silver certification standards and included a solar array in the design. The array will reduce operating costs for the government-owned Blue Mountain Station, saving taxpayer dollars and allowing the station to continue supporting local artisan food processors.

Perry Technical Institute - Plath Hall
Yakima, Wash.
Solar, 24.9 kilowatt
Perry Technical Institute is a non-profit technical school that trains students for work in a rapidly evolving technological world. The solar array will be installed by the school's instructors, who are licensed and bonded electricians, together with students. The project will provide students with hands-on experience in the solar installation and will assist in building skills to directly grow the solar industry in the region.

Bend Habitat Restore
Bend, Ore.
Solar, 56.2 kilowatt
$59, 814
Bend Area Habitat for Humanity, a non-profit organization that provides affordable housing services for low-income families, will install a solar array that will reduce operating costs and allow the organization to expand its services. Utility bill savings will be applied directly to the organization's low-income home construction and repair projects and more solar installations for these homes.

Pacific Crest Affordable Housing - Ironhorse Lodge
Prineville, Ore.
Solar, 67.2 kilowatt
The solar project will be installed on two newly-constructed carport structures designed specifically to host the solar panels. The Lodge is located close to an elementary school and students will be able to become familiar with the facility. Energy production data will be available online for students and the general public to monitor.

Greenleaf Industries
Grants Pass, Ore.
Solar, 17 kilowatt
Greenleaf Industries is a private non-profit organization established in 1981 that provides long-term employment for the developmentally disabled in a horticultural setting. Greenleaf has become the largest grower of bedding plants and vegetables and largest horticultural training center in the region. The project will reduce Greenleaf's operating costs and allow the organization to more cost-effectively provide employment and training opportunities for the developmentally disabled in the community.

Bend First United Methodist Church
Bend, Ore.
Solar, 13.8 kilowatt
Bend First United Methodist Church opens up its doors to nearly 20 community groups throughout the year. The goal of their solar project is to reduce operating costs while inspiring those who visit the church to see solar energy in action, learn about installing panels at their homes and become ambassadors for renewable energy.

Most projects are on schedule to be completed in 2015. The upcoming application period for the 2015 round of Blue Sky community project awards will be announced in the spring.

About Blue Sky

The National Renewable Energy Laboratory has ranked Blue Sky fifth or better in the nation for the 11th consecutive year in the number of customers buying renewable power. The Blue Sky Block, Usage and Habitat products are Green-e Energy certified; About 55,000 Pacific Power customers currently participate in the Blue Sky program across Oregon, Washington and California. For more information, visit

About Pacific Power
Pacific Power provides electric service to more than 730,000 customers in Oregon, Washington and California. The company works to meet growing energy demand while protecting and enhancing the environment. Pacific Power is part of PacifiCorp, one of the lowest-cost electricity producers in the United States, with almost 1.8 million customers in six western states.