Salem Switch Trial
Thumbing its nose at a reputation for endless rain, Oregon is poised to become the first state to boast solar panels on its capitol building. Next month, about 850 square feet of photovoltaic (PV) panels will be installed on the west wing of the capitol, generating an average of 7.8 kilowatts — sufficient electricity to power the four floodlights that illuminate the 23-foot-tall Golden Pioneer statue gracing the top of the building. Although primarily a symbolic move, the project reflects a genuine commitment to solar energy in Oregon, one of the first states to offer tax credits for investing in PV systems. The solar installation is the brainchild of Christopher Dymond, a state energy analyst, and is being bankrolled by Portland General Electric to the tune of 60 grand.