The Oregon Shakespeare Festival Community Solar project was selected as a Meaningful Benefit Category Special Recognition winner for Community Ownership for the Sunny Awards for Equitable Community Solar, an initiative of the National Community Solar Partnership (NCSP).
The NCSP, a program of the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Energy Technologies Office (SETO), supports a coalition of stakeholders working to expand access to affordable community solar to every U.S. household and enable communities to realize meaningful benefits, such as greater household savings, low- to moderate-income (LMI) household access, increased resilience, community ownership, and equitable workforce development. NCSP is working toward a 2025 target to enable community solar to power the equivalent of 5 million households and generate a cumulative $1 billion in energy bill savings.
The Sunny Awards were launched in 2022 to recognize community solar projects and programs that employ best practices to increase equitable access to the meaningful benefits of community solar for subscribers and their communities. Meaningful benefits are key outcomes of community solar development identified by the NCSP. These community solar benefits bring positive impacts to the households, organizations, and the surrounding communities where the projects are developed and operate.
- Project Name: Oregon Shakespeare Festival Community Solar
- Location: Talent, Oregon
- Project Size: 241 kW
- Project Subscribers: Residential
- Year Energized: 2022
- Lead Organization: Oregon Clean Power Cooperative
- Partner Organizations: Solarize Rogue
- Business Model: Community-financed and participant-owned
- State or Utility Program Leveraged: Oregon Community Solar Program
- Bill Svings: 20% bill savings for LMI subscribers; 15% bill savings for project host, 64% savings for system owners
- LMI Access: 10% of the project subscribers are LMI households
Meaningful Benefits Best Practices:
The Oregon Shakespeare Festival Community Solar project provides emergency backup power to Oregon Shakespeare Festival (OSF). The theatre company designated the production building in Talent, Oregon, where the project is located, as its emergency backup facility in case a natural disaster, such as wildfires, took out the power to its offices and theatres. The 100kW solar array and battery installation play a key role in their building’s emergency planning. The backup battery will provide power and lighting to key circuits in the building, allowing it to be used in an emergency situation.
This project also combines two approaches of developing community solar into the 241-kW system. The first approach includes a 100-kW solar array, cooperatively owned by Oregon residents, that sells power and emergency backup power under a PPA to the host organization, the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. The owners of this array are community members living throughout Oregon, who support community-based solar. The second approach added an additional 141kW community solar array on an adjacent section of a roof. This array is directly owned by community members, and offsets the power used at their homes, and at the homes of low-income families, by providing bill credits through a community solar program.
This project served as a proof-of-concept model that is in the process of being replicated in larger community-owned solar systems in Oregon.
For more information on the Oregon Shakespeare Festival Community Solar project, visit http://oregoncleanpower.coop/portfolio/easy-installation/ or contact Dan Orzech at firstname.lastname@example.org.