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Friday, January 1, 2010

How Green Is My Valley

A recent article in the Eugene Register Guard described the growth of the solar power industry in the Willamette Valley. There are currently seven facilities, from Portland to Eugene, producing everything from silicon ingots and wafers to solar cells to inverters. These facilities employ about 700 people, with plans to expand to over 2700 in the period 2010-2011.  This means at least 2000 Valley residents currently work in or serve/supply this industry and  within two years that figure will jump to over 8000. In addition, the article indicates the (disclosed) investments made, or to be made, in these plants and facilities exceeds $700 million. Another way to look at how green solar power can make our valley is the home owner's investment when installing a photovoltaic system.  We recently received a proposal to install a 2.5kW PV system for $17,500.  After figuring in the Energy Trust cash incentive and the federal and state tax credits which can be taken, the net investment in this system will be only $3188.  Our estimated savings in electricity costs results in a payback of a bit over 14 years.  In addition, data is beginning to come in indicating that solar power installed on a home increases its value and resale price (more on this in another article).  Put together, that's a lot of green to get by being green!

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