Portland SW Center project melds solar, crowdfunding

Portland's Southwest Community Center will soon receive a set of solar panels courtesy of an Oregon Community Foundation grant.

The effort marks the simultaneous launch of a revolving loan fund, fed through crowdfunding, that aims to back solar installations on public facilities.

The Southwest Community Center collected a $100,000 grant from the OCF's Penstemon Fund.

Susan Anderson, director of the city's Planning and Sustainability bureau, said the project will become Portland's first "community solar" fund endeavor. The idea is that renters or homeowners who can't install solar units in their own residences can contribute to a renewable energy project.

Anderson said she hopes the community solar fund could finance a second system like the Southwest Community Center's within six years.

Portland Parks & Recreation, Solar Oregon, SW Neighborhoods Inc. and solar installation contractor EC Co. are working on the endeavor.

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