City of Portland to use solar energy for power at public sites

By Krista Van Tassel
December 17th, 2013

Tom Unger photoPlease join me in welcoming our newest guest blogger Wells Fargo Regional Communicator for Oregon and S.W. Washington Tom Unger. A 20-year veteran of the company, Tom manages internal and external communications. He’s a New York native who has worked in journalism and corporate communications for more than 33 years and has earned close to 30 communications awards. (KVT)

Lil’ darling, here comes the sun (power)! Who would have thought something as hot as the sun would be the inspiration for such a cool way to improve public places?

Oregon Region Community Affairs Manager Bernie Kronberger and I recently attended an event at City Hall, hosted by Mayor Charlie Hales, where he thanked Wells Fargo and a few other businesses for providing seed money to start the Solar Forward fund to install solar power systems at public sites.

Wells Fargo Oregon Region Community Affairs Manager Bernie Kronberger at Solar Forward press conference.

Wells Fargo Oregon Region Community Affairs Manager Bernie Kronberger at Solar Forward press conference.

Mayor Hales shared his excitement about Portland joining as a community to put solar on some of its most beloved public spaces – it is both a simple gesture and a powerful expression of our shared future.

I couldn’t agree more. Our participation in the Solar Forward fund is part of Wells Fargo’s ongoing work to help make our communities, our workplaces, and our economy more environmentally sustainable.

The city will use donations from community members and businesses to install new solar power systems in local public sites, including community centers, libraries and schools. A southwest Portland community center was one of the first sites to receive a system and the Oliver P. Lent Elementary School will receive its system when more funds are raised.

Renewable energy provides benefits to the community, from maintaining healthy air to the economic opportunity created for Portland’s small businesses and workers, according to Susan Anderson, director of the City’s Bureau of Planning and Sustainability.

Since 2005, Wells Fargo has provided more than $21 billion in environmental finance to support sustainable buildings and renewable energy projects nationwide. This includes investments in more than 260 solar projects and 34 wind projects that generate enough clean renewable energy to power hundreds of thousands of American homes each year.

Photo of Solar Forward's first installation at SW Community Center in Portland, Ore.

Solar Forward’s first installation at SW Community Center. Photo credit: EC Company and City of Portland.

We have a lot of work ahead of us, but – together with leaders like Bernie, our customers, our communities and the cities like Portland – we can make positive changes. I hope this is a trend other companies will get behind to lend their financial support for more sustainable and healthy communities.

Tags:   energy   grant   Oregon   Portland   solar   
Krista Van Tassel

Krista Van Tassel

As Community and Team Member Engagement manager for Wells Fargo’s Environmental Affairs Team, Krista supports the company’s 70+ Green Teams, recognizing and promoting environmental innovator best practices, and engaging and educating team members about their role in helping the company’s sustainability efforts. She also manages Wells Fargo’s Environmental Solutions for Communities’ $3 million annual nonprofit grant program focused on helping make long-term sustainable economic investments in local communities where its customers and 264,000 team members work and live. Prior to joining Wells Fargo in 2009, Krista worked in a variety of sustainability and marketing positions in both the nonprofit and for profit sectors. Krista earned her MBA in International Business at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C.

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