An interview with Brent Boles, Inland Electric Inc., divisional manager for Oregon's North Coast and southwest Washington, 725 Ave. R, Seaside.

This Hillsboro-based business has been serving Oregon's North Coast and southwest Washington coast area for four years, employing highly qualified electricians to meet the electrical needs of commercial and residential customers, big and small. This company leads the cutting edge of green power and offers some surprising answers for the coastal environment. The Seaside office is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and by appointment. Local service is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. For more information, call (866) 826-2905.

What does Inland Electric offer?

"We do anything electrical you can think of. We are a Kohler generator distributor, offering standby generators for residential and commercial applications. We do electrical installations for buildings. Our focus is commercial, industrial and residential inside wiring. We do anything from the meter on, for both new and remodeled structures. We also have a division that offers green power with solar and wind power and we install Colorado V-Net home automation systems for efficient home energy management."

Tell us about green power.

"As energy prices rise there is a lot more interest in wind and solar power. We are a member of the Energy Trust Oregon Trade Ally Network. This trust offers cash incentives for energy-efficient products and services. They provide technical assistance and incentives and we provide the high quality work. There are a lot of incentives for solar power in Oregon available through state, federal and Pacific Power. Washington state is trying for state legislation. NorthWest Natural and PP&L have a link to the energy trust. We have big projects for wineries in the western valley and have wind and solar projects in eastern Oregon."

Is wind power better than solar for coastal residents?

"The problem with wind power is that there are height restrictions, unless you live out in the county or can get a variance. Direct wind is needed with no turbulence. If you have 60-foot trees around, the tower has to be 100 feet high. State and federal incentives for solar power make solar an attractive option. There is also a misunderstanding that you have to have sunshine for solar to work. Sunny, hot days are not the best for solar power. Heat makes solar power less efficient. It all depends on the solar index and how much UV you get. We have cool temperatures and clean air here, and that is good for solar power."

How much work do you get here on the coast?

"We have 300 to 400 customers a year. We are doing 15 to 20 new houses per year and hundreds of remodels. I have six to 10 employees, depending on the time of year. It really ramps up in the summer because of the work we do with school districts. Some of our big projects include the Seaside Public Library and Tongue Point."

What can you tell us about cost and savings with a solar system?

"A typical 2,590-watt residential PV system with a 25-year limited warranty on power output will cost $21,400. An Energy Trust of Oregon incentive, in PGE territory, will save $5,827.50, bringing the out-of-pocket cost at the time of sale down to $15,572.50. An Oregon Department of Energy tax credit equals $6,000.00 and a federal income tax credit is available for up to $2,000.00. All this brings the net customer cost down to $7,572.50. Typical savings will vary by household and energy efficiency levels, however the average savings for the 2,590 watt system is $396 per year. As energy costs rise annually so will the savings of the solar system."

Tell us about your employees.

"We employ IBEW electricians. Local Union 48 does all the training. You have to be accepted into the apprentice program and perform 8,000 on-the-job hours. We are always looking for electrical apprentices and journeymen when we are busy. The company constantly updates the abilities of our project engineers, project managers and estimators, giving them and our customers the advantage of new technology."

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