Rural communities depend on community and public facilities for critical services. Schools, churches, low-income service providers and community centers not only provide hands-on assistance but are important gathering places. The recently formed Making Energy Work in Rural Oregon Team is a coalition of rural community leaders advancing community solar on public facilities through the state of Oregon. The goal of the coalition is to expand solar access while increasing rural community resiliency and energy independence.
The coalition of rural energy champions will explore innovative solutions to expand access to solar energy by increasing the pace and scale of community solar in rural Oregon through two primary objectives: 1) Pilot, refine and replicate new community solar models emerging in Oregon; and 2) Develop a portfolio of community solar projects across rural communities in Oregon to scale innovative financial models.
Oregon now has two separate groundbreaking laws that enable community-owned and scaled renewable energy, with other emerging models for low income facilities currently being piloted. The Making Energy Work Team will seek to pilot these models, recommend changes and refinement, and work with one another to replicate best practices and models sharing key legal, technical, financial and administrative expertise.