PCC’s Renewable Energy Commitment
As part of the 2021 Climate Action Plan, PCC established a goal to reduce scope 1 and 2 greenhouse gas emissions by 75% below 2006 levels by 2026, through decarbonization of its energy sources. PCC is working towards this goal in three principal ways: increasing the amount of renewable energy that we produce on site, decarbonizing our energy sources (including increasing the amount of renewable energy we purchase), and reducing our overall energy consumption. Additionally, having onsite renewable energy provides hands-on opportunities for student engagement and classroom learning.
Solar Energy Production
In FY 2021, PCC produced approximately 750,708 kWh of renewable solar energy. In addition, PCC’s FY 2021 green energy purchases contributed another 3,841,801 kWh of renewable energy for a total of 4,492,509 kWh from renewable wind and solar sources. Approximately 20% of PCC’s overall energy consumption for FY 2021 came from a combination of on-site renewable energy production and green energy purchases.
The building is designed to be Net Zero, Carbon-Neutral, producing as much energy as it uses. The Newberg Center features a 75kw rooftop photovoltaic (solar) array and a 25kw set of bifacial modules that serve as a canopy over the entryway. Bifacial modules produce energy from both sides and it helps that the sidewalk into the building is a pale color. Updates are being made to the monitoring system and data will be made available after the update.
Rock Creek Campus
In FY 2021, Rock Creek’s photovoltaic array at PCC Rock Creek produced 537,412 kWh, equivalent to avoiding the greenhouse gas emissions from 957,163 miles driven by an average passenger vehicle (USEPA Greenhouse Gas Equivalency Calculator).
The Rock Creek solar array was built in 2012, as a partnership between PCC and Oregon-based public and private entities, including The Energy Trust of Oregon, SolarCity/Tesla, and the Oregon Department of Energy, and was funded through a solar power purchase agreement. The panels were manufactured by Hillsboro-based SolarWorld.
For active consumption and output data from the array visit Solar City or dig into the real-time solar energy production data at the Rock Creek Campus through our LUCID Building OS platform.
Willow Creek Center
In FY 2021, Willow Creek’s rooftop photovoltaic array produced 117,664 kWh of solar electricity, equivalent to removing the greenhouse gas emissions from 209,567 miles driven by an average passenger vehicle (USEPA Greenhouse Gas Equivalency Calculator).
Oregon Manufacturing Industry Center (OMIC)
PCC’s Oregon Manufacturing and Industry Center (OMIC) features an 82.4 kwAC photovoltaic array. The monitoring system is being installed and data will be made available soon.
Upcoming additions to PCC’s inventory of photovoltaic arrays include the Rock Creek Dealer Services Technology Building, the Sylvania HT building, and the Metro building. When those arrays are complete, our onsite renewable energy portfolio will be capable of producing over 1,000,000 kWh annually.
Other Renewable Energy Commitments
PCC also has contracts to purchase off-site renewable energy to supplement the onsite production of renewable energy. The energy is not literally wired to PCC. Instead, other groups build renewable energy power plants that are connected to the grid. These produce renewable energy credits (RECs) and their green value is transferred. In Oregon, these companies can be utility companies or owned by third parties. PCC only uses third-party certified renewable energy credits that meet the standards outlined in the American Colleges and University Presidents Climate Commitment and that add new sources of renewable energy (solar, wind, and small hydro) to the existing grid. We participate in two of Portland General Electric’s (PGE) programs: Clean Wind and Green Future Impact. Residential utility customers may also participate in the Clean Wind program.
Green Future Enterprise (formerly known as the Green Wind program)
This program sells Green-E-certified renewable energy credits (RECs) from Portland General Electric. We purchase these RECS in one of two ways. The first is through an outright purchase. The second option does not require spending additional money on the part of PCC. Our electric bills all contain a public-purpose charge. Some of the accounts are considered large enough and close enough together that they give us the option to self-direct that public purpose charge towards using the clean wind program. Self-direction amounts fluctuate with the amount of energy we consume and will drop if we consume less energy. About 40% of our RECS in FY 2019 came from self-direction. In FY 2021, PCC purchased 6,758,095 kWh of clean wind, equivalent to avoiding the greenhouse gas emissions from 7,131,889 Miles driven by an average passenger vehicle (USEPA Greenhouse Gas Equivalency Calculator).
Green Future Impact / PGE Solar Program
Portland Community College (PCC) has committed to purchasing 10,000,000 kWh (10,000 MWh) of energy from a new Oregon-based solar facility named Pachwáywit Fields is set to be operational in the spring of 2023. Our subscription will be equivalent to avoiding greenhouse gas emissions from 17,544,417 Miles driven by an average passenger vehicle (USEPA Greenhouse Gas Equivalency Calculator).
PCC is among several participants in Oregon’s first green tariff, Green Future Impact, offered by local utility Portland General Electric. Green Future Impact is a bundled product, meaning that PCC will receive energy from the facility and the associated renewable energy credits over the course of a 15-year contract. PCC expects to increase renewable energy use by 29%. The green tariff is a big step for PCC to significantly reduce Scope II greenhouse gas emissions.
Pachwáywit Fields is located on ceded lands of the Confederated Tribes of the Warm Springs. The name pays homage to lands traditionally stewarded by the Warm Springs and Umatilla Tribes since time immemorial. Pachwáywit, pronounced Patch-Why-Wit, means “sun” in the Sahaptin language and ties Oregon’s largest solar facility with the land’s rich history and stewardship.
Community Solar – Oregon Shines
PCC is also participating in a community solar program through Oregon Shines. Community solar projects give customers an opportunity to subscribe to a portion of production from a solar plant and in exchange, customers receive a credit on their monthly utility bill for the electricity generated from that portion of the system. The Oregon Community Solar program is run by the state and funded by a state tax on our utility bills. PCC’s subscription will start in 2022 and expand as each facility is built. We expect all the facilities to be complete by the end of 2023.
Community solar projects can be located on buildings or be free-standing. PCC is subscribed to three such Oregon-based projects as a customer of Portland General Electric and three as a customer of Pacific Power. The projects will be coming online over the course of the next two years and are 20-year contracts. A portion of the overall subscription is reserved for low-income residential customers. Unlike the Green Tariff program, where PCC is subscribed to a set amount of production, the Oregon Shines community solar program has us subscribed to a set amount of PCC expects these facilities to provide PCC with an estimated annual average of 6,737,056 kWh, which will result in an annual average savings of about $34,053. This is equivalent to avoiding the greenhouse gas emissions from 11,632,713 Miles driven by an average passenger vehicle (USEPA Greenhouse Gas Equivalency Calculator).
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