Solar and Battery installation at Portland’s main fire station

The downtown Portland fire station will install the city’s first solar-plus-storage facility, at Portland Fire & Rescue Station on Ash Street. The station contains the agency’s main incident-command post and Bureau administrative offices, and will serve as a center for critical emergency response during a prolonged event that disrupts the electricity supply, says the deputy chief of logistics Marco Benetti.

The solar-plus-storage facility is more likely to remain intact during an outage should a seismic event occur, i.e. when it’s needed most.

Unlike traditional backup generators that operate using fossil fuels, solar-plus-battery installations make it possible to maintain critical power loads operative.

“This is a cool project because it builds on that resiliency piece, says Andria Jacob, senior manager of energy programs and policy with Portland’s Bureau of Planning and Sustainability. “

Solar is renewable, but when it’s dark, it’s not doing anything for you.” With the ability to store power in batteries, however, it can be used at night and the batteries replenished during the day.

The new 30-kilowatt system is projected to save $3,300 a year in electricity costs.

It helps fulfill the city of Portland’s Climate Action Plan goal of purchasing or generating 100 percent of all electricity for city operations from renewable resources, with at least 15 percent from onsite renewable energy systems, like solar or biogas, by 2020.