One million square feet of the Oregon Convention Center’s roof between its trade-mark twin towers now sports 6,500 solar panels to supply 25 percent of the event facility’s power. The Convention Center, Energy Trust of Oregon and Pacific Power officials unveiled the recently completed green project at a late November news conference and roof-top tour.
Enerfy Trust’s Executive Director Margie Harris told reporters the addition of the solar cells’ renewable energy enhanced Portland’s chances in competing for conventions. “Many organizations,” Harris said, “look for venues that match their values.” Officials also see the rooftop solar array as beefing up the image of the Convention Center’s glass towers, making them even much more iconic.
The major obstacle in completing such a project, according to Metro Councilor Sam Chase, is finding the right public private partnership. “Organizations take quite a risk if they collaborate with partners without experience,” Chase said. Pacific Power’s Blue Sky energy program was touted at the perfect partner.
Savings from the reduction in power needed to operate the Convention Center will be put into other similar projects to maximize the use of green power. The green power project is being used as a model to replicate similar savings at other facilities.