Solar power coming to Oregon-Idaho CRM sites 

A view from the Alton L. Collins Retreat Center near Eagle Creek, Oregon.

by Rev. Todd Bartlett

As we seek to fulfill our purpose of caring for this earth, the Board of Camp and Retreat Ministries (CRM) in the Oregon-Idaho Conference has chosen to partner with Oregon Clean Power Cooperative to install solar arrays at three sites. CRM is projected to install a 150-kWh array across the highway from the Alton L. Collins Retreat Center as the first step in this process. Board members and staff are also exploring options for Wallowa Lake in northeast Oregon and Camp Magruder along the coast. By meeting most electrical power needs through solar, it will also free up substantial resources for other needs at sites and across other ministries. Together these three sites spent more than $75,000 in 2019 on electricity. If these sites can produce up to 90% of their electrical needs, they would be saving about $67,000 annually that could be utilized in other ways. 

Camp Latgawa and Suttle Lake Camp are both too forested to install an array that would meet CRM needs, and Sawtooth Camp has explored this option but the return on investment has been determined to be too long at this time. 

If people are interest in getting involved with any of these projects, there are two options to consider: Making a donation to Oregon-Idaho Conference Camp and Retreat Ministries designated for solar projects, and/or you can invest in these solar projects at one of our sites. Details on how to invest will be coming out when CRM has finalized the first project, which staff hopes will be within the next month. 

Rev. Todd Bartlett is the executive director of Camp and Retreat Ministries for the Oregon-Idaho Conference of The UMC

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  1. What was the cost of the installation and the expected life span of the panels. Are the panels made in the USA?

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