Efforts to “solarize Corvallis” land its first local business, Block 15 | Local

Solarize Corvallis, a joint project of the Corvallis Sustainability Coalition and the Oregon Clean Power Cooperative, completes its sixth roof panel project.

Block 15 Brewery & Taproom’s location on Southwest Deschutes Street is the first company to add rooftop solar panels to a Solarize Corvallis project. The previous five recipients have been Corvallis School District, Old Mill Center and Benton County’s Kalapuya Building in 2020, Corvallis High School and the First United Methodist Church also adding signs this year.

The Southwest Deschutes Street pub is adding 98 kilowatts of solar power, enough to supply nearly 40% of the brewery’s electricity needs.

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Nick Arzner, who co-founded Block 15 with his wife, Kristen, noted the irony of flipping a solar project’s switch on or around Winter Solstice, a day with the smallest amount of light.

The Arzners, who have operated Downtown Block 15 for 14 years and the southern location for seven years, were thinking of solar power when they started to envision the southern location.

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“We made sure the design would accommodate solar power, but we didn’t have the funds at the time,” Nick said. “It’s an investment that will have an immediate effect on operations, with significant savings over the life of the system.

“And we believe as a company that it is important for us to reduce our carbon footprint. In addition, through tax credits, we will recoup this investment over time while reducing our electricity costs.


Funding for the $ 190,000 project came from Block 15, the Energy Trust of Oregon and community investors. Block 15 will receive tax benefits equivalent to its contribution of $ 123,179, community investors will participate up to $ 48,000, with the final $ 19,794 coming from the Energy Trust of Oregon.

Jefferson’s Pure Energy Group supplies the solar panels, which are expected to produce enough renewable electricity each year to drive a passenger car 221,000 miles. Crews were installing the panels, which are made in Washington state by Silfab Solar, on Tuesday under partially sunny skies.

The downtown operation is due for a new roof in a year or two, and Arzner said the company will examine whether solar power is feasible on this building. Arzner pointed out that other downtown flat-roofed buildings, such as Peak Sports, were available to successfully install solar power on flat roofs.

Early next year, Solarize Corvallis and Peter Greenberg of Energy Wise of Albany will add signs at Third Street Commons, the homeless shelter at the former Corvallis Budget Inn. Linus Paulus Middle School is also on the program for 2022.

Tax advantages

“The tax benefits for a solar energy installation company can be huge,” said Dan Orzech, general manager of the Oregon Clean Power Co-op. “Combining them with community investments effectively reduces the initial costs for the business to zero. “

“We have found that the residents of Corvallis are eager to put their money to work in a way that benefits both the planet and our community,” said Annette Mills, host of the Corvallis Sustainability Coalition. “The response has been tremendous. “

Ozrech and Mills, who were in attendance for Tuesday’s installation, also pointed out that Solarize Corvallis seeks to maximize flexibility by tailoring its approach to customer needs. For example, the First United Methodist Church chose to forgo community investing and instead raised the money in the form of donations from congregations.

The Methodist project has also raised enough funds to include a solar battery, which can store electricity and keep the building operational if the power grid goes down for some reason. This was an important consideration for the church project because the site houses a shelter for homeless women.

Block 15, Mills said, has raised funds from clients, family, friends and Corvallis Mayor Biff Traber, who has frequently contributed to Solarize Corvallis initiatives.

“Brewing great beer is an energy-intensive business,” said Kristen Arzner of Block 15. “We’re excited to be able to help make the planet a better place by partnering with our customers and other community members to transform our electricity. in solar energy. Powerful.”