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

Photo Log: The 2015 100 Best Green Workplaces in Oregon

The Latest
Wednesday, May 27, 2015
greenthumbPHOTOS BY JASON E. KAPLAN

Oregon Business celebrated the 100 Best Green Workplaces with an awards luncheon yesterday at the Nines Hotel in downtown Portland.


Read more...

Frothy Battle

June 2015
Friday, May 22, 2015
BY ROBERT MULLIN

Latest development in Nestlé plant saga sparks debate about the value of water.


Read more...

Green workplace 2.0

Linda Baker
Thursday, May 28, 2015
IMG 2808BY LINDA BAKER | EDITOR

Reinventing capitalism. Office dumpster divers. Handprints versus carbon footprints.


Read more...

Biker dreams

The Latest
Friday, May 15, 2015
bike at ater wynn-thumbBY KIM MOORE | RESEARCH EDITOR

The Portland Bureau of Transportation is seeking input from businesses on a $5.5 million initiative to create a network of biking, transit and pedestrian trails within Portland’s central city.


Read more...

The 5 highest revenue-generating parks in Oregon

The Latest
Thursday, June 11, 2015
parksthumbBY JACOB PALMER | DIGITAL NEWS EDITOR

In 2014, total revenue for camping and day use in Oregon State Parks was a little more than $17 million. That figure may even higher this year "because we've had exceptionally nice weather," Hughes says.


Read more...

Urban renewer

Linda Baker
Wednesday, June 24, 2015
UnknownBY LINDA BAKER   

One year after he was appointed chair of the Portland Development Commission, Tom Kelly talks about PDC's longevity, Neil Kelly's comeback and his new role as Portlandia's landlord.


Read more...

Hall of Flame

June 2015
Friday, May 22, 2015
BY JACOB PALMER

A Power Lunch at Oswego Grill.


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