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Opinion: Let’s Make Hillsdale a Solar Community

[Posted January 28, 2022]

Contributed by Amy Houchen

You’ve no doubt heard that solar power helps reduce the greenhouse gas emissions fueling climate change. Portland’s electricity is generated mostly from fossil fuels: 38% from coal and 25% from natural gas. Hillsdale’s many households and businesses could switch to solar power to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions and clean up the electrical grid.

But how to participate? You may have a roof that’s suitable for panels. But maybe you’ll say, “Too many trees.” Or, “Who, me? I’m just renting.” Or, “Even with tax credits, I don’t have the money.”

The fact is, if you pay your own electric bill you can subscribe to solar power from a remote site to cut greenhouse gas emissions. No investment is required, and you may save money on your bill. And you don’t have to own your roof: the programs include renters—both business and residential—and offer lower rates for low-income households.

You can also support solar installations at non-profits and other organizations that have suitable roofs. You help clean up their power, while earning interest as your investment is repaid over ten to twelve years, by donating to the project, or by buying the panels in return for tax credits. St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church is using that three-pronged model with Oregon Clean Power Co-op to install solar panels on its sanctuary roof.

The Hillsdale Community Foundation is planning a Solar Fair to be held in May, with educational displays from solar providers of all types—panel installers, subscription providers, and solar co-ops. If you have ideas about what you’d like to see at the Fair, or would like to help plan it, contact the Foundation. If you want to plunge into solar before then, check out these resources:

General information on going solar

Subscriptions to solar power

Solar for communities

Amy Houchen, board chair of the Hillsdale Community Foundation, has a shady roof but subscribes to remote solar power. Call her (503 459-3797) or email her with questions about solar, including inquiries about the St. Andrew’s installation.


Have you invested in solar power? Tell us about it.


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