Testimony in support of expanding Oregon’s Community Solar Program

Dear Chair Decker, Commissioner Tawney, and Commissioner Thompson,

My name is Bronte Payne and I am here on behalf of Environment Oregon. Environment Oregon represents Oregonians across the state and works to create a greener and healthier world. Thank you for the opportunity to be here to testify today in support of Staff’s proposal to expand the Community Solar Program. We are in full support of Staff’s proposal, and we urge you to adopt it without delay. 

We applaud the State for passing HB 2021 as it moves to 100% clean. However, HB 2021 does not give utility customers choice as to where their power comes from, and it does not allow customers to act individually or to act now. Community solar does, especially for tenants and low-income ratepayers.

Currently, the options for utility customers to procure renewable energy is extremely limited in Pacific Power territory. This was highlighted by the Commission in the approval of PacifiCorp’s Schedule 272 that allowed Facebook to procure 100% renewable energy from PacifiCorp. In that proceeding, commission staff stated they were “sympathetic to customers that require options to meet their sustainability goals given the dearth of other options in PacifiCorp’s portfolio.”

Community Solar gives customers with sustainability initiatives and goals an option to work towards these goals. Rooftop solar is not conducive on many homes and buildings for various reasons and most customers are not able to procure renewable energy under PacifiCorp’s Schedule 272. Homeowners and small businesses should be allowed to have similar options as large energy users like Facebook. We would advocate for an expansion of the Community Solar Program so that options for procuring clean energy continue to grow.

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