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

5 highlights from the Angel Oregon Showcase

The Latest
Thursday, April 23, 2015
IMG 5069BY JACOB PALMER | DIGITAL NEWS EDITOR

The entrepreneurial spirit was alive and well at the Oregon Angel showcase, an annual event for angel investors and early stage entrepreneurs.


Read more...

The Good Hacker

May 2015
Friday, April 24, 2015
BY CHRIS HIGGINS

As digital security breaches skyrocket, a cybersleuth everyman takes center stage.


Read more...

Queen of Resilience

June 2015
Friday, May 22, 2015
BY AMY MILSHTEIN

Astrid Scholz scales up sustainability.


Read more...

Change at the pump?

The Latest
Tuesday, May 26, 2015
001thumbBY JASON E. KAPLAN | STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER

New Jersey and Oregon are the only two states in the U.S. that ban self serve gas stations. But these two holdouts may be ready to give up the game. New Jersey is considering legislation that would lift the state's ban on pumping your own gas. Oregon is considering smaller scale changes.


Read more...

Cherry Raincoat

June 2015
Tuesday, May 26, 2015
BY LINDA BAKER

Spring rains are the bane of an Oregon cherry farmer’s existence. Even a few sprinkles can crack the fruit so badly it’s not worth picking. Science to the rescue: Researchers at Oregon State University have developed a spray-on film that cuts rain-related cracking in half, potentially saving a season’s crop. The coating, patented as SureSeal, is made from natural chemicals similar to those found in the skins of cherries: cellulose, palm oil-based wax and calcium.


Read more...

Beneath the Surface

May 2015
Thursday, April 23, 2015
0515-goodhacker01 250pxwBY LINDA BAKER

On April 1 I attended a forum at the University of Portland on the sharing economy. The event featured panelists from Lyft and Airbnb, as well as Portland Mayor Charlie Hales. Asked about the impact of tech-driven sharing economy services. Hales said the new business models are reshaping the landscape. “But,” he added, “I don’t pretend to understand how a lot of this [technology] works.” 


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