Homeowners in a Southeast Portland neighborhood have banded together to buy and install solar panels, knocking significant chunks off the price through high-volume purchasing. The 6-month-old Solarize Portland program has wildly exceeded expectations.
â€œWe needed 50 homeownersâ€ to provide the bulk purchasing power, says Tim Oâ€™Neal, a lead organizer for the project, â€œand 350 people signed up for site assessments.â€
Taking inspiration from a similar project in San Francisco, Solarize Portland, with backing from the Energy Trust of Oregon, found it could purchase and install panels collectively to save up to 25%. That was on top of state and federal tax credits and cash incentives already in place which had reduced the panel price and installation by 80%. The organization then took requests for proposals from 12 trade partners of the trust and settled on Imagine Energy, a Portland consultancy firm.
Jonathan Cohen, founder of Imagine Energy, says the project now under way is by far the biggest his 6-year-old company has handled. â€œWe donâ€™t visit 96 homes in two years, let alone two months,â€ says Cohen, referring to the number of site inspections his energy firm has completed so far for the projectâ€™s grassroots organization. Read more. Î¦
Photos courtesy of http://www.solarizeportland.org and http://www.oregonbusiness.com.
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