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

Gone Girl

News
Monday, September 29, 2014
roundup-logo-thumb-14BY LINDA BAKER | OB EDITOR

Wehby disappears, Kitzhaber fails to disclose and Seattle gets bike share before Portland.


Read more...

Woman of Steel

November/December 2014
Wednesday, October 22, 2014
BY LINDA BAKER

Tamara Lundgren tackles the challenges—without getting trampled.


Read more...

The short list: 5 companies making a mint off kale

The Latest
Thursday, November 20, 2014
kale-thumbnailBY OB STAFF

Farmers, grocery stores and food processors cash in on kale.


Read more...

Podcast: Turn Things Around with David Marquet

Contributed Blogs
Friday, October 17, 2014
davidmarquet thumbBY TOM COX | OB BLOGGER

How can you move from a command-and-control leadership model to one of true empowerment and accountability? David Marquet did, and he took notes along the way.


Read more...

Kill the Meeting

November/December 2014
Wednesday, October 22, 2014
BY AMY MILSHTEIN

Meetings get a bad rap. A few local companies make them count.


Read more...

The clean fuels opportunity

News
Monday, November 10, 2014
111014-dirtyfuel-thumbBY KIM MOORE | OB RESEARCH EDITOR

A market for low-carbon transportation fuels has a chance to flourish in Oregon if regulators adopt the second phase of the state’s Clean Fuels Program.


Read more...

Shuffling the Deck

November/December 2014
Wednesday, October 22, 2014
BY JON BELL

Oregon tribes still bet on casinos.


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