Oregon Convention Center now features one of the highest-producing solar power arrays ever installed on a U.S. convention center, a unique achievement even for a LEED Platinum building. Power production started on August 4, 2016, and the array has already produced enough kilowatt hours to power five Portland homes for a year. Over the next two decades, it is estimated to generate enough energy each year to power approximately 184 homes.
The new two megawatt system’s more than 6,500 rooftop solar panels are expected to produce 25-30% of the facility’s electricity – and because it creates no emissions or pollution, it will contribute to a substantial reduction in the carbon footprint of the convention center’s one million square foot campus.
The solar array is operated by SolarCity, which was awarded the project through a competitive bidding process last year. Funding for the collaborative project included a $500,000 grant from customers of Pacific Power’s Blue Sky renewable energy program and support from the Energy Trust of Oregon.
“We’re proud and excited about this important milestone in our sustainable journey, one we share with the City of Portland," said OCC Deputy Director Matt Pizzuti. "The partnerships with SolarCity and financial backing from Pacific Power and Energy Trust of Oregon helped to make this possible, and together we look forward to many sunny Northwest days ahead!”
Kip Barrett, Senior Project Development Manager for SolarCity said the convention center, “has long been a leader in energy efficiency, and has now taken that a step further.”
“SolarCity is proud to work with the OCC through a forward-thinking and long-term partnership that will not only generate clean solar energy, but is also projected to lower the venue’s operating costs,” said Barrett.
“It has been a longstanding goal of the OCC to produce solar power on what is probably Oregon’s largest rooftop," said Scott Cruickshank, OCC Executive Director. "The realization of this goal represents the determined efforts of our many partners and our staff, and their genuine, common commitment to sustainability.”
More information about OCC’s solar array project and its sustainable business practices can be found at oregoncc.org/about/sustainability. You can view aerial photos of the center’s rooftop solar array here.
The Oregon Convention Center is owned by Metro and managed by the Metro Exposition and Recreation Commission. OCC is a LEED Platinum certified facility hosting groups from around the world and bringing millions of dollars into the Portland and Oregon economy.