Bend

CEC set to launch Oregon's first 'community solar' project

Co-op offering members 2 ways to share in costs, benefits

BEND, Ore. - Central Electric Cooperative will ceremonially launch Oregon's first "community solar" project with a "panel-hanging" next week near its service center in southeast Bend.

A ceremonial mounting of the first of 704 photovoltaic panels to be installed at Oregon's first community solar project is scheduled for Thursday, Nov. 12, at 1:30 p.m. at 61090 SE 27th Street, officials said Thursday.

The project is owned and operated by Central Electric Cooperative. Sunlight Solar Energy of Bend is the development contractor.

Attending and conducting the "panel hanging" ceremony will be members of the CEC staff and board of directors, and Sunlight Solar officials. Invitations have been extended to local government officials, representatives of local environmental organizations, and CEC members who have expressed an interest in joining the CEC Solar Community.

"As Central Electric approaches its 75th year of operation, we have been blessed to have carbon-emission free hydroelectric power as the foundation of our energy supply," said CEC President and Chief Executive Officer Dave Markham. "Our community solar project marks an important forward step into today's and tomorrow's renewable energy world."

The community solar project lets CEC members voluntarily share in the costs and benefits of the 200,000-watt installation on approximately 1.7 acres of land adjacent to the co-op's Bend Service Center.

There are two programs: the established Green Power program enables them to pay a premium on some or all of their kilowatt-hour usage each month, and under the new Shared Solar program, members can subscribe to the energy produced by one or more of the project's panels, with half- and quarter-panel subscription options available.

Shared Solar program participants will receive a credit on their electric bill each month for the portion of the solar energy produced that is equivalent to the size of their subscription. All proceeds are dedicated to the project's construction, operation and maintenance.

A member-owned, not-for-profit electric cooperative based in Redmond, Central Electric Cooperative has provided electric utility services to its Central Oregon members since 1941. At the close of 2014, CEC served 32,097 accounts held by 25,732 members in its 5,300 square-mile service territory in Deschutes, Crook, Jefferson, and parts of Lake, Linn, Wasco and Grant counties.

CEC's electrical system includes 24 substations; 3,851 miles of energized power lines, including 183 miles of transmission line; 2,262 miles of overhead and 1,406 miles of underground distribution line.


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