Solar Beaverton was a city-led program developed to encourage renewable energy use and make solar installations easy for residents. Led by Beaverton, Oregon’s sustainability program, Solar Beaverton was designed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, simplify the processes of installing solar, create jobs that support local contractors and manufacturers, and help residents take advantage of financial incentives. The program surpassed its goal of 250 residential solar installations in January 2012, with the 258 solar systems located throughout the community. It began with an
initial pilot project
and evolved into a full city-wide program in 2011. Through a fixed price cost negotiated by the City with a selected solar vendor, the innovative program made a residential solar system far less expensive for homeowners, and lessened the complexity and risk in the process as well.
After its first year of full operation following a pilot program, Solar Beaverton was widely hailed as a success and garnered national recognition, including Mayor Denny Doyle’s receiving a U.S. Conference of Mayors’ Climate Protection Award and the NRDC’s Smart City award for energy innovation.
Solar Program Effects
The Solar Beaverton program evolved into much more than just a solar program. The collaborations among citizens, businesses, the public sector, and local non-profits have inspired many innovative side projects and partnerships. One example is the solar demonstration gazebo located at the Beaverton Farmers Market which was donated by LiveLight Energy and SolarWorld to educate the community about solar technology. This gazebo can be reserved by community groups to engage market attendees each week on topics of sustainability and healthy living. The solar panels on top of this gazebo provide power for three electric vehicle charging stations nearby. Also, public-private partnerships have been formed with local businesses that have encouraged the adoption of solar in the city of Beaverton. The Mayor, councilors and numerous staff have also installed and explored solar systems for their homes. Additionally, the nearby City of Hillsboro has launched a similar solar program modeled after Beaverton’s initiative.
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