SolarWorld calls itself “The Sunpowered Company.” But is it?
I’ve tried to find out how much power SolarWorld’s Hillsboro facility uses today and will use when its expansion is complete, but the company and one of its lobbyists have not responded. I want to compare its power usage with the 500 MW of solar cells that the company will be producing. Is it a net energy producer or another large industrial consumer? I’m also curious to learn how much solar energy it is using today and will use, to see if it is really "sunpowered."
A while back a reporter told me that s/he was told that SolarWorld is using or plans to use so much electricity that PGE had to put in a new substation. I haven’t found anyone who can confirm that. PGE, not surprisingly, won’t disclose anything about SolarWorld’s power use. And even though they’ve been handing out millions in tax credits to SolarWorld to sell, the Oregon Department of Energy won’t say – or doesn’t know – how much power SolarWorld is using, will use, and will be offsetting with solar energy they produce or purchase.
Not only should SolarWorld be generating its own solar power, but you’d think a company that calls itself “The Sunpowered Company” would be in the “platinum” category of “Clean Wind power” purchasers from PGE. But SolarWorld’s name doesn’t appear under any of the categories of wind power purchasers in the most recent PGE ad placed in the Portland Business Journal (click ad to enlarge) publicly thanking their “Clean Wind” participants. Better yet (because it is all from renewables), maybe SolarWorld is purchasing all its power through the Green Source program that PGE offers.
You’d think that a solar company that received $11 million in our tax dollars through tax credits intended to encourage the conservation of energy and the use of renewable resources and which has applications pending for about $20 million more in taxpayer dollars, would be comparing its own energy use to how much energy it is producing and will produce, and would be consuming only renewable energy.
And you’d think the state energy agency would be doing the same comparison and requiring as a condition of receipt of taxpayer dollars that the facility only use renewable energy. But we haven’t been given that information by either SolarWorld or the Oregon Department of Energy, and there’s no such conditions placed on the tax credits doled out.
The SolarWorld facility in Hillsboro is reportedly going to produce 500 MW in solar cells. How much energy will it consume to do so? How much of its energy will its own solar collectors provide? And is it buying only renewable power for the rest of its demand or is it part of Oregon’s energy problem?
I'd like to know.