5 Things to Love About Oregon’s Solar Future
We know that the Clean Electricity and Coal Transition Bill is great news for Oregon. It’s a historic measure that transitions our state’s electricity grid off of coal-fired power, replacing that power with clean, renewable energy. The bill has placed a major spotlight on Oregon, highlighting just how meaningful climate progress can be achieved. Our state may be small in size, but as the first state to ever take legislative action to go coal-free, we’ve proven just how mighty Oregon can be.
What you may not know about the Coal Transition Bill is that it contains several hidden gems working in tandem to put Oregon on a path toward having one of the cleanest electricity mixes in the nation, if not the world. One of these provisions we previously explored has to do with electric vehicles, the other, solar. Although Oregon may be known as a lush, green and rainy state, its potential to utilize solar electricity is quite vast. Just how bright does Oregon’s solar future look? Here are the top 5 things we love about Oregon’s solar future:
- Solar for everyone! The Coal Transition Bill contained a special provision to create a community solar program, enabling Oregonians who can’t have solar panels on their home or property for whatever reason (HOA restrictions, too much shade, etc.) to purchase solar panels located in a solar array elsewhere in the state and receive the same energy savings on their utility bill as if the panels were located on their roof.
- Building in equity to environmental legislation: What’s also great about the community solar program is that 10% of the program’s capacity must be allocated to low-income customers, making solar even more accessible to a wider range of Oregonians.
- We’re joining a growing trend that’s changing the entire energy landscape: Community solar is kind of a big deal. Just six years ago only two community solar projects existed, but now 77 utilities administer more than 110 projects across 26 states, according to a new Deloitte report. Thanks to the Coal Transition Bill, Oregon is now part of the movement making solar accessible to those who were previously unable to reap its benefits.
- New solar projects are also coming – bringing jobs where they’re needed most: Accompanying the passage of the Coal Transition Bill, another bill focused on large-scale solar projects also became law. It incentivizes the development of large-scale solar projects in Oregon, bringing jobs to our sunniest and most rural communities, like those in Eastern Oregon. And, if this new program is fully utilized, it will more than double the amount of solar energy in Oregon!
- Bipartisan support for clean energy: Both the Coal Transition Bill and the accompanying large-scale solar bill passed with bipartisan support, proving yet again that clean energy does not have to be a partisan issue.
If you need even more reasons to love a coal-free Oregon, be sure to check back as we explore more specific provisions of the bill. And sign-up for our Grassroots Action & Information Network (G.A.I.N) to be alerted to timely ways that you can speak up and help act on climate!