Chris Bortnem Goes Solar!

by Chance Currington

Sunlight Solar was introduced to Chris Bortnem and Greg Ohl through our mutual employment at the Oregon Golf Club in West Linn. We met about a year ago when I decided to accept a position bartending special events on the weekends.  Chris is the Banquet Manager and Greg is the executive dishwasher at the club.  Chris and I both work for Greg.  Chris approached me and asked what kind of deals we had on solar just around the time we were releasing our “SunRun Total Solar Program”.

The first step in the solar journey is a site survey.  Greg, Chris, and I all met out at Chris’ place down the road from West Linn High School in West Linn, OR.  I propped up the ladder and we all got on the roof to design his array according to best possible aesthetic and performance. We figured out together where we would place his solar panels, how we would run the conduit, and where we would mount the inverter.

Greg oversaw the entire project including making sure Chris didn’t make any miscalculations during our site survey


Greg is a hard worker and was very meticulous about chalking out the array. Like he always says “I don’t leave until the job is done”


So now we had the information we needed to put together a formal proposal.  In Oregon it is pretty simple.  A 3.24KW system like Chris’ is $6,000 out of pocket with a $6,000 residential energy tax credit at $1500/year over 4 years.  That’s it, Chris basically got a free solar power system for 20 years of service, cutting his bill in half, and hedging against future rate increases from PGE.  So we signed the deal and within 4 weeks we were installing his system.

The racking is laid down before the panels go up and of course Greg oversaw that to make sure chalk lines were snapped and everything was aligned correctly.

Our electricians arrived with Chris’ solar panels and Greg was present to make sure quality was top notch and to lead the install team while they mounted the solar panels.

The fruits of his labor.


Period Ending Avg Daily Temperature Avg kWh Per Day Avg Cost Per Day
November 2011 53 3.9 0.68
November 2010 54 9.1 1.04


This graph is taken from Chris’ most recent power bill.  In November of 2010 (pre-solar) Chris averaged a usage of 9.1 kWh/day.  This is equal to about 300 kWh/month or $30 of electricity from PGE.  In November of 2011 (post-solar) Chris averaged 3.8 kWh/day.  This is equal to approximately 120kWh/month or $12 of electricity from PGE.  His solar array covered 57% of his electricity requirements!

Interesting side note:  Chris works in his spare time putting on performances for schools all around Oregon with W.E. C.A.R.E. Sports.  W.E C.A.R.E.  performs school assembly programs featuring educational and entertaining shows with hands on instruction for small and large groups.  For more info check out the link below.

Chris’ savings on his electricity bill makes him want to juggle.

For more information on the SunRun Total Solar program, click here.

For more information on the Oregon Golf Club, click here.

For more information on W.E. C.A.R.E., click here.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *