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Located on 68th Avenue, Oregon Shines works with community colleges, cities wanting to offset their carbon footprints.

COURTESY PHOTO: OREGON SHINES - A view of some off the solar panels used to add to the power grid as a way to help reduce carbon footprints.Portland Community College and Chemeketa Community College recently teamed up with a small Tigard firm in an effort to help offset their carbon footprint with renewable solar energy.

Both colleges have entered into an Oregon Community Solar Program subscription through Oregon Shines, a company that helps boost participation in the Oregon Community Solar Program.

"Portland Community College is excited to take part in the Oregon Community Solar Program through Oregon Shines," PCC sustainability manager Briar Schoon said in a news release regarding the partnership. "This will reduce our carbon footprint for electricity by about 10 percent."

The two colleges — Chemeketa, whose main campus is in Salem, and PCC, which has four campuses in the Portland metro area — have subscribed to 5.7 megawatts of electricity through the program, according to PCC officials.

"A community solar project is a completely off-site solar system, and what you're doing is you're basically just subscribing to a portion of electricity generated by a community solar project to offset your personal electricity needs," explained Carly Sellers, program manager with Oregon Shines.

The Oregon Community Solar Program allows customers of Portland General Electric and other power companies to get access to solar power through Oregon Shines. In addition to the two community colleges, the city of Troutdale is another Oregon Shines customer, said Sellers.

Those customers had to go through a precertification process review to gain approval for their projects.

"Once a project is pre-certified, we're allowed to begin subscribing customers to it," said Sellers. "So, none of the projects are built yet, but they will be built next year."

Oregon Shines, which located its offices on 68th Avenue about a year ago, was started by Troy Snyder and Hunter Strader, both of whom live in the Portland area.COURTESY PHOTO: OREGON SHINES - A view of some off the solar panels used to add to the power grid as a way to help reduce carbon footprints.

Snyder has more than decade of experience in the solar PV (photovoltaics) industry with expertise in finance and greenfield project development. On Oregon Shines' website, he is described as having "a desire to make Oregon as clean as the generations before him."

Strader brings a decade of expertise in finance and greenfield project development to the company.

"This is a monumental step towards a future in which renewable energy is utilized to its fullest potential," PCC's Schoon stated, saying the two colleges will see not only utility savings but also an "innovative solution to reaching their climate goals."

Oregon Shines is complimentary of the colleges' efforts as well.

"They've been the perfect partners for us to work with, because we really wanted to work with customers that have a focus on the environmental aspect of solar," said Sellers.


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