Portland, Oregon Turns to Crowdsourcing to “Put Solar On It”

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By Alex Hayes

Originally published on Mosaic

Oliver P. Lent Elementary School in Portland, OR is set to receive solar panels in 2014 as part of the city’s Solar Forward campaign. To complete the project–the second of the campaign– $50,000 needs to be raised. Of the $50,000 goal, $20,000 has been donated by organizations including SolarWorld, Portfolio 21 Investments, Umpqua Bank, Wells Fargo and the Portland Development Commission.

To finance the rest of the project and additional local solar projects, Portland is turning to crowdsourcing. Solar Forward, Portland’s first solar crowdsourcing program, is raising funds from residents for solar installations throughout the city. The model, which accepts donations from ordinary citizens, businesses and foundations, is a hybrid of crowdsourcing and traditional fundraising. The city is hopeful that by using crowdsourcing, the city can, “offer community members a way to engage in the development of new, clean, local renewable energy systems on public buildings like community centers, schools and libraries.” Although the city can only offer a tax-credit at this time, it may offer discounted rates on electricity in the future.

With help from a $100,000 grant from the Oregon Community Foundation, Solar Forward was created in September of 2012, after a 10-kilowatt solar electric system was successfully installed atop the Portland Parks & Recreation’s Southwest Community Center. They are yet another great example of the power of crowdsourcing and community engagement.

Read more from Solar Oregon.

Alex Hayes is passionate about sustainability, clean energy, entrepreneurship, and decentralized innovation, including crowdfunding. When not writing for Mosaic, he is a musician, avid runner and consultant to many organizations, such as the Spanish Public Media Foundation. Previously, he worked to make arts-education more accessible to Chicago students, helped launch an art-gallery, and supported a grassroots movement of over 250,000 people to reform campaign finance laws.

Disclaimer: Any opinions expressed in this blog by persons not affiliated with PV Solar Report reflect the judgment of the author and not necessarily that of PV Solar Report.