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COURTESY NEIL KELLY REMODELING  - Workers install framework to add more than 400 solar panels atop the Best Western in North Portland's Delta Park area. The Best Western Inn at the Meadows in North Portland is installing more than 400 solar panels atop its roof, becoming one of the first Portland lodgings to “go solar.”


“I don’t know of any other hotel (in Portland) that has put solar modules on their roof, and Energy Trust of Oregon didn’t know of any other either,” says Chad Ruhoff, vice president of energy services for Neil Kelly Co.

Neil Kelly owns Mr. Sun Solar, which is installing the panels. Energy Trust is supplying cash rebates for the project, as it does for most solar installations in Oregon.

The panels will supply about 30 percent of the electricity for the Best Western, which is owned by two local brothers, Albert and Steve Lee. Installation is scheduled to be completed by July at the 146-room hotel near Delta Park. SolarWorld manufactured the photovoltaic solar panels at its Hillsboro plant.

The owners qualified for $72,000 in cash rebates from Energy Trust and $212,000 in federal tax credits and depreciation tax credits. Ruhoff estimates the owners will recoup their net expenses for the project within five years.

“Most systems we’re seeing a payback in three to five years,” Ruhoff says.

That’s a healthy return on investment for most business deals.

In addition, by adding the 103,000 kilowatt system, the Best Western will avoid more than 100,000 pounds of carbon emissions annually.

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