Solar Power

A startup company from North Idaho captivated donors and YouTube viewers worldwide a few years ago with its idea for turning roads and parking lots into solar farms. Now that far-out idea is available for public inspection for the first time.

Solar Roadways /

This weekend Sandpoint, Idaho, celebrated the debut of a local start-up company's idea for "solar roadways." Ultimately, the entrepreneurs envision roads, sidewalks and parking lots doing double duty as power plants.

Solar Roadways /

Imagine driving on a busy road...without any traffic lines or caution signs. Could it be safe?

People who are interested in solar energy but don't own the perfect roof on which to install solar panels may have the option to buy into a bigger, centrally-located project. These are called shared solar or community solar. There's a boomlet of such projects in Washington state right now, while there are hardly any in sunnier Oregon and Idaho.

But Washington's generous solar incentives are coming under scrutiny.

Wouldn't it be nice to get a check from your electric utility instead of a bill? That's exactly what happens for a select few homeowners in the Pacific Northwest whose solar-powered houses generate more electricity than they use over the course of the year.

Leszek Leszczynski / Flickr

A new distillery in the Tri-Cities is hoping to solar power your alcohol.

The founders of Solar Spirits are planning to distill vodka, gin and eventually whiskey – they would become one of the first distilleries in the Northwest to use solar power. The group calls their process “craft tech.”

Oregon Solar Manufacturer Expanding, Adding 200 Jobs

Oct 31, 2014

Solar panel manufacturer SolarWorld has announced a 10 million dollar expansion at its Hillsboro plant . 

The expansion will add a new solar panel production line and around 200 jobs at the company's U.S. headquarters in Hillsboro.

It will increase the plant's capacity by 40 percent and bring the total number of employees up to around 900.

SolarWorld president Makesh Dulani says the expansion marks a turnaround for the company. Many thought U.S. solar manufacturing couldn't survive fierce competition from China.

Andreas Lea/Flickr

The city of Portland is planning to build a new solar energy project on the roof of a local elementary school. But it only has about half the money needed to pay for it. To make up the difference, city leaders are trying something new: Crowdsourcing.

A renewable energy consultant and the Oregon Institute of Technology have come up with an unusual financing plan for an even more unusual power plant idea.

Liam Moriarty / KPLU

One of the Northwest’s leading solar power advocates likely used his state position to help a company he was working for get an unfair tax designation. That’s the conclusion of a state ethics board investigation released Friday.