Home Back Issues September 2012 Reaching for the sun

Reaching for the sun

| Print |  Email
Articles - September 2012
Monday, August 27, 2012

PHOTOGRAPHY BY MATTHEW GINN

Driving headlong on Interstate 5 past the Baldock rest area south of Wilsonville, you catch a glimmer out of the corner of your eye that looks a little like shimmery water in the middle of farm fields. Unless you stop to get coffee or stretch your legs, and then make your way to the back of the rest area, you’ll likely miss the fact that the shimmery thing is almost 7,000 solar panels. Years of planning, many partnerships and $10 million have created the 1.75-megawatt Baldock Solar Highway Project, the second project developed under the Oregon Solar Highway Program and the largest of its kind in the nation. The array at the 1-5/I-205 interchange was the nation’s first solar highway project. Construction on the Baldock project began Aug. 23, 2011, and the array went online Jan. 17, 2012. In between, we documented how a unique solar project was built.

0912 ReachingForTheSun 19

How the power flows

The power from groups of solar panels goes into a collector panel on the racking system, which then feeds back to DC switchgear cabinets. The DC switchgear cabinet is then connected to a solar inverter that converts the DC power coming from the solar panel to AC power. The power then goes into an AC switchgear cabinet that feeds out to a PGE 2000KVA transformer.

Key project partners

  • Aadland Evans Constructors, Portland: general contractor 
  • Advanced Energy Industries/PV Powered, Bend:designed, built inverters 
  • Advanced Energy Systems, Eugene: solar-power designer, installer 
  • Bank of America: financing, along with PGE’s Clean Wind program and the state’s Business Energy Tax Credit program 
  • Christenson Electric, Portland: electrical contracting services 
  • Energy Trust of Oregon: utility incentive funding 
  • Five Stars International, Salem: consulting 
  • Good Company, Eugene:
  • greenhouse gas analysis 
  • HatiCon Solar and SAPA Group, Portland: panel support frames 
  • Moyano Leadership Group, Salem: project manager, design leader 
  • Oregon Dept. of Transportation: provided 7 acres of land 
  • PGE: builder, operator of the project 
  • PHC Northwest, Portland: security lighting 
  • Sea Reach, Sheridan: interpretive display signs 
  • SolarWorld, Hillsboro: supplied the solar panels

“If you can put solar at the exchange of two major interstates, you’ve taken a mountaintop. In public service, you aren’t rewarded for taking risk. This had never been done before. The 1-5/I205 solar project was the first in the Americas. [These agencies] have never been engaged in this before. This array takes us beyond the era of the dinosaur, where we are dependent on oil. With the solar highway, we are saying we have a choice. We’re using energy not taken from the earth but given to us by the sun.’’ -Lynn Frank, President, Five Stars International

 

Comments   

 
Guest
+1 #1 How much for SolarGuest 2012-08-28 17:48:40
Interesting project, what would it cost to replace the output with conventional power?
Quote | Report to administrator
 
 
Guest
0 #2 PresidentGuest 2012-08-28 18:55:55
This project is a great use of a natural resource for our nation. A good use of contractors and products of Oregon. This will have far less impact than the upcoming wave energy projects that will soon be dotting our Oregon Coast. Money well spent.
Quote | Report to administrator
 

More Articles

How to handle the unexpected

Contributed Blogs
Friday, March 28, 2014
03.28.14 thumb disasterBY TOM COX | OB BLOGGER

The next mysterious (or disastrous) event could be one that you or your team might suddenly need to respond to, probably under intense scrutiny.


Read more...

Banishing oil burners reaps benefits for schools

News
Tuesday, April 01, 2014
04.02.14 thumb co2schoolsBY APRIL STREETER | OB CONTRIBUTOR

Three years ago, PPS set out to begin to convert the 1930s-era boilers from diesel/bunker fuel to cleaner-burning natural gas. Oregon’s largest school district has realized impressive carbon dioxide emissions reductions, setting an example for public and private institutions.


Read more...

Workplace benefits

March 2014
Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Health care and vacations rule. That’s the consensus from our reader poll on workplace benefits that help retain and recruit employees.


Read more...

Wheel man

March 2014
Tuesday, February 25, 2014
BY LINDA BAKER

Les Schwab has put a premium on customer service since 1952, when legendary namesake Les Schwab founded the company with one store in Prineville. (Schwab died in 2007.) But if the corporate principles remain essentially the same, the world around this iconic Oregon business has changed dramatically.


Read more...

From the Editor: The human factor

March 2014
Tuesday, February 25, 2014

In this issue, we celebrate our 21st annual 100 Best Companies to Work For in Oregon project.


Read more...

Buy the book

News
Tuesday, March 25, 2014
2 03.25.14 thumb bookshopBY VIVIAN MCINERNY | OB BLOGGER

Oregon is home not only to many fine writers but also several accomplished small publishers.


Read more...

Leader's bookshelf

Contributed Blogs
Friday, March 14, 2014
02.06.14 BooksBY TOM COX | OB BLOGGER

Five books that will make you a better leader.


Read more...
Oregon Business magazinetitle-sponsored-links-02
SPONSORED LINKS