Summer sunshine isn’t just a reason to play outside. It has a lot of people thinking about how to harness the sun’s energy. One of the more exciting examples is the solar plane that took off in Arizona earlier this month — and kept on flying.
But, closer to home, a new thin-film solar manufacturing plant is bringing new jobs to an enterprise zone in Gresham. And the Solarize Portland program has been helping neighborhood coalitions to sign onto solar energy projects en masse so that a contractor of their choice can buy panels in bulk and, hopefully, pass the savings on. Since the program brings in one or two contractors for an entire city quadrant, some companies that haven’t been chosen say the program is hurting their business.
Meanwhile, the Oregon Department of Energy has made some changes that reduce the tax incentives for people who use renewable energy in their homes. The reduced tax credits are temporary, but the department says they hope to make them permanent. This has ruffled some feathers among people who are trying to get more homeowners to install solar panels.
How do you use solar energy? Do you use it to generate energy for your home or business? Do you want to? Have recent changes in local and state incentives changed your thinking?
- Shane Bemis: Mayor of Gresham
- Damoder Reddy: CEO of Solexant
- Andrea Simmons: Energy policy administrator for the Oregon Department of Energy
- Lee Rahr: Residential solar program coordinator for the city of Portland
- Andrew Koyaanisqatsi: President of Solar Energy Solutions Inc.