SOURCE: Greenlight Greater Portland

October 14, 2008 03:01 ET

Greater Portland-Vancouver's Low Electricity Rates, Skilled Workforce and Business Tax Climate Make It a Top Competitor for Solar, New Study Shows

The Study, Which Compares Greater Portland's Competitiveness for Solar Business With That of Six Other Metros, Is Being Released Today by More Than 40 Public and Private Sector Leaders at Solar Power International 2008; Among Greater Portland's Solar Recruits in the Past Two Years Are SolarWorld, xSunx and Solaicx; Intel Has Launched SpectraWatt, and Sanyo Solar of Oregon Is Breaking Ground in Nearby Salem

SAN DIEGO, CA--(Marketwire - October 14, 2008) - Greater Portland offers cheaper, more reliable electricity as well as a more favorable business tax climate than California metros provide, according to The Solar Industry and Greater Portland-Vancouver, a study released today at Solar Power International 2008.

The study, conducted by the private-sector economic development group Greenlight Greater Portland, compares the Portland, Ore.-Vancouver, Wash. metropolitan region on key solar-business-related metrics to two California and four other metro areas that are top contenders for solar companies. The metros include: Albuquerque, Austin, Phoenix, Raleigh, Sacramento and San Jose.

"In aggregating the data for this study, greater Portland has emerged as an unqualified leader in providing the regional assets that solar companies need to succeed," said Greenlight CEO Tim Priest.

The solar study is the first ever that has quantified these metrics for the regions that are among top competitors for solar companies. It also documents the cost of water and industrial real estate and the number of available workers who have skills needed in renewable energy companies.

Among greater Portland's offerings for solar companies are:

--  inexpensive, reliable electricity
--  a skilled electronics workforce
--  a favorable tax climate, plus significant incentives for renewables
    companies
    

For solar manufacturers, which consume power around the clock, the cost and reliability of electricity are key considerations for siting a facility. Greater Portland's rates are the third-lowest of the comparison metros (Albuquerque and Phoenix' rates are lower), and the region has less than one power outage a year, the least of all the metros but Albuquerque, which didn't report any outages.

As a bi-state (Oregon and Washington) metro area, greater Portland also offers a better corporate tax climate than many regions, according to the Tax Foundation, which ranks Oregon seventh and Washington 11th in the nation for most favorable business tax climate. Oregon has no sales tax, which can mean significant savings for equipment-intensive companies. Oregon also offers major incentives to renewable energy companies, including the Business Energy Tax Credit (BETC), which can reduce project costs by up to half.

These assets have contributed to greater Portland's already fast-growing solar cluster, including SolarWorld, which celebrates the grand opening of its facility this week, xSunx, Solaicx and Intel's SpectraWatt. Japan-based Sanyo Solar of Oregon recently announced a facility locating in nearby Salem, Ore.

Fifteen private-sector leaders from greater Portland-Vancouver have joined the Greenlight staff and 25 Oregon public sector economic development officials today in San Diego to release the study and promote the Portland region at the solar trade show.

Greenlight Greater Portland, www.greenlightgreaterportland.com, is a private consortium of business leaders dedicated to growing a sustainable and vibrant economic future greater Portland. Greenlight specializes in aggregating regional data and marketing the seven-county Portland-Vancouver metropolitan area.

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