Renewable Energy

Information from Grassroots Community Solar Projects You Can Plug-in To

Presented by Ray Sanchez-Pescador, Solarize Rogue & Jim Hartman, Ashland Solar Cooperative (SOCAN Monthly meeting 10/26/2021)

Solarize Rogue (Pacific Power customers)

The Beginning

In March 2019 a Town Hall meeting was hosted by SOCAN at the Medford Library. We talked about the concept of Community Solar since at that time, Community Solar was not a reality in Oregon. After a lot of work, by many different groups of people, the first Community Solar project in Pacific Power territory will be live very soon.
This OSF Community Solar project is a first in three ways:
  1. First “carve-out” project to be Certified in Oregon;
  2. First Community Solar project to be Certified in Pacific Power territory; and
  3. First “participant-owned” project in the state.

Read more about this project

New Opportunities

The OSF Community Solar project was a pilot to test the practicality of the Oregon Community Solar Program and for us to learn what it takes to get the project done.  Now, we are ready for the next project.  We are actively looking for host sites and participants, so if you want to take advantage of the benefits that Community Solar projects bring to your community, please contact us.  We’d love to hear from you.

Ashland Solar Cooperative (Ashland Electric customers)


If you would like to connect with or learn more about the Ashland Solar Cooperative, go to our website: or send an email to Jim Hartman: or text Jim at 541-821-1300.

Pacific Power Blue Sky Program:

Blue Sky renewable energy program and help bring new renewable energy facilities on-line.

Arcadia Power

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Solar Energy Options

Conventional Options

The most common approach to harnessing solar energy is to install solar panels on one’s roof (or as a stand array).  From here, one can be grid-tied or off-grid.
Grid-tied solar users generate electricity from their photo-voltaic (PV) panels and pump into the grid that which they do not immediately use.  Because Oregon is a net metering state, the producer earns credit for electricity not used and pumped into the grid. The energy builds up an account with the electrical utility which is then used during the night, or winter months when solar availability is less abundant and the generated power is insufficient to drive domestic needs.  During summer, the individual producer can generate sufficient electricity to cover their entire annual need at which point they have achieved net zero energy status and only pay to the utility a monthly fee based on the cost of the grid connection and its servicing (app $10).  The advantage to this arrangement is that the producer can rely on the grid for night-time and winter back-up when their production is absent or inadequate.  Meanwhile no battery storage is required.  Paradoxically, if the grid ‘goes down’ the solar panel owner is not independent to continue using their own generated electricity because their system also shuts down to protect power line technicians from being electrocuted by power generated from individually-owned solar panels.

Off-grid users, meanwhile, have to store on-site the power they generate during ‘good times’ and use that store as a bank to power themselves overnight and winter.  The problems with batteries are: (1) they represent an extremely toxic technology (in manufacture and disposal); (2) batteries need to retain a certain percentage (maybe 10%) of their charge to remain effective so the full stated  capacity is not available; (3) batteries have a power rating that reflects how heavily they can be used to drive appliances.  Low capacity high power rating will run all appliances for a short while and high capacity low power rating will run a few appliances for a long time.  The best choice will be the high capacity, high power rating battery, but these limitations mean batteries are less than 100% efficient at turning the power generated by the PV panels into available power.   Fortunately, battery technology is a rapidly advancing field so lower toxic, high capacity high power rating batteries are becoming more available.   However, the above limitations, mean that the generation requirement will always be somewhat higher than the KWH requirement for powering appliances.  However, off-grid users are clearly independent of any utility outages.

Unconventional Options

Not everyone owns a roof or enjoys land orientation that is amenable to PV cells.  Renters are also particularly vulnerable since it would have to be the landlord who elects a solar array.  To combat these limitations, Oregon is developing rules to allow some for or community solar: a system whereby renters or homeowners can collaborate to own solar panels distant from their homes that pump electricity into the grid for which the distant homeowner earns credit.  Whether we generate and use our own solar power, or pump into the grid solar power to replace what we use, society as a whole benefits from the greening of the grid. Solarize Rogue and Sustainable Northwest gave a presentation on March 26, 2019 at the SOCAN General Meeting on their plan to help the Rogue Valley enhance its solar capacity.  This program is available here in pdf format: 2019-0326 Solarize Rogue – Medford Town Hall.

For more information on this program contact Ray Sanchez Pescador with Solarize Rogue ( or Bridget Callahan with Sustainable Northwest (