Rainy Portland, Ore., might seem an unlikely site for a solar energy project, but that didn't stop Seko Worldwide from giving it a try. Seko, an international freight forwarder and technology solutions provider, recently installed a solar voltaic system at its 33,000-square-foot warehouse and office facility in Portland. The system, manufactured by Grape Solar of Eugene, Ore., now generates approximately 80 to 90 percent of the electricity needed at the site.
It appears Seko won't have to wait long for a payoff either. Excess electricity is sold back to Portland General Electric via a usage-metering system that balances the electricity produced by the utility against the electricity produced by the solar panels to produce a net credit or deficit. What's more, said Paul Burkhart, owner of Seko Worldwide in Portland, federal, state, and local financial incentives covered nearly 80 percent of the solar installation's cost. "All projections indicate we will achieve an ROI in just three years. After that, we will enjoy virtually free electricity," he said in a statement.