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What if your power meter ran backward?

About a half-dozen homes in Forest Grove feature solar panels; learn how else you can expand on Forest Grove's green ambition
by: Chase Allgood Forest Grove resident Dale Feik (top, left), hired Steve Sefchick and other crew members from Mr. Sun Solar to install an array of solar panels on the roof of his home (right). Next week, a special meter will be installed at Feik’s home that will earn him credit for excess power produced by the panels.

Residents of western Washington County have the chance to help the city of Forest Grove turn a little greener.

City officials are hosting two meetings this month to discuss their community sustainability efforts. The first, this Saturday, Oct. 8, is an informational session to define what sustainability is and review various local and regional efforts.

Information given at this meeting will help residents prepare for a follow-up meeting on Oct. 22.

The latter meeting will allow participants to help develop future efforts to promote sustainability in the community. This will be done through a 'SWOT' analysis, identifying strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats.

Part of the opportunity will come in how the city-owned electric utility, Forest Grove Light and Power, can play a role in greening the Grove.

For some area residents, like Dale Feik, new technology is already offsetting home power consumption.

Feik installed an array of solar panels on the roof of his home on Monday and next week a crew from Forest Grove Light and Power will install a special meter that will send power back into the city's grid when the electricity generated by Feik's solar array exceeds the power used inside the home.

The dream of a self-sustaining house isn't as far fetched as it might seem.

Even in Oregon, a residential home with solar panels could see its meter run backward on bright day with low energy use (think no air conditioning), said Richard Matzke, interim director of Forest Grove Light and Power.

About a half-dozen Forest Grove homes feature solar panels like Feik's, Matzke said.

The two city meetings on Oct. 8 and Oct. 22 will begin at 9:30 a.m. in the Forest Grove Community Auditorium, 1915 Main St.

For further information, please contact Jon Holan at the Community Development Department at 503-992-3224 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .