Simple, Fast, and Cost Effective




Northwest Solar Communities develops standardized tools to make the process of going solar simple, fast, and cost effective for customers and the jurisdictions and utilities that serve them. Rooftop solar installations in Oregon and Washington provide an increasing number of jobs and a growing share of clean energy. As residents and businesses increasingly choose solar, jurisdictions and utilities are searching for new systems to meet customer demand for permits and interconnection. Responding to this challenge, Northwest Solar Communities has convened a team of jurisdictions, utilities, industry partners, and citizen groups to develop and share solar best practices.


Northwest Solar Communities envisions a future where rooftop solar installations are standardized across a broad swath of the Pacific Northwest. Jurisdictions and utilities will adopt best practices that enable them to serve customers consistently and efficiently while driving down costs, making solar a cost-effective clean energy solution for all.

Get Recognized!

Find out how your jurisdiction can gain recognition as a Northwest Solar Community!

Upcoming Events

Save the Date! Interconnection Training, Tuesday, March 3rd, 1 PM – 5 PM            World Trade Center- Conference Center in Portland

Save the Date! Interconnection Training, Thursday, March 12th, 10 AM – 4 PM            Central Lincoln PUD in Newport

Attendance is free, but pre-registration is requested. Here are the registration links to the Portland and Newport events. For more information on the events and locations please check out this flyer.

The workshops with Michael Sheehan includes a high-level overview of DG technologies using case studies to facilitate discussion. Topics include,

  • National Electric Code (NEC) and Codes and Standards
  • Utility ‘Best Practices’ Survey results
  • Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) Guide for conducting Distribution Impact Studies for renewables
  • Case Studies of Distribution Impacts and PV systems
  • Future modifications to interconnection (e.g.  Low/High voltage ride-through (LVRT) and Low/High frequency ride-through (LFRT)
  • Energy Storage and MicroGrids

These free workshops are sponsored by Northwest Solar Communities, a joint effort of the Washington Department of Commerce and the Oregon Department of Energy under the US DOE Rooftop Solar Challenge.  For more information, please contact Rob Del Mar. (

Making Solar Work For You

A quick primer on solar photovoltaics, fitting the pieces together, and why solar is a great option for communities across the Pacific Northwest.

What is Solar PV?

Solar photovoltaic (PV) technology uses the sun's rays to produce power for your home or business. A solar module is a series of silicon cells that work together to transform sunlight into electricity. A linked collection of solar modules comprises a solar array. Other important solar system components are the inverter, production meter, and net billing meter.

Most solar arrays are grid-tied, which means that any excess electricity production is fed back into the utility grid. The size of a solar array depends on a variety of factors, including electricity load, available roof space, roof shading, roof orientation, and project budget. A solar array can be sized to produce 100% of your electricity needs, or simply to supplement conventional utility electricity.

Next Page: Find Out How

How Does Solar Work?

When the sun shines on a solar PV array, it produces direct current (DC) power.  This DC power flows through an inverter, which “translates” it to the alternating current (AC) power used in your home.  The AC power passes from the inverter to the production meter, which measures every kilowatt-hour of electricity produced by your solar system.  The electricity then flows through your breaker box and goes to power your home’s current electricity load.

If your solar system is producing more electricity than you need at any given moment, the excess production will flow to the grid through the utility billing meter, which measures your home’s net usage. The billing meter will credit your utility account when you push electricity into the grid, and deduct from your account when you pull electricity from the grid.

Next Page: Find Out Why

Why Solar in the Northwest?

Despite our cloudy reputation, we actually get plenty of solar resource to power our everyday lives. The Puget Sound area alone receives 15% more annual solar resource than Germany—the world's leader in installed solar capacity. Solar PV provides a clean, renewable means to light our homes, run our appliances, and even drive our cars!

Northwest Solar Communities endeavors to help jurisdictions and utilities streamline and standardize solar permitting, interconnection, financing, and codes to make solar simpler, faster, and more cost effective for all.

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