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Gov. John Kitzhaber visited the Oregon Institute of Technology on August 18 to cut the ribbon on Oregon's largest-ever solar energy project. The first phase of the project, to be completed by the end of the year, will install large ground-mounted solar arrays at Oregon Institute of Technology (OIT), Oregon State University, and Eastern Oregon University. The $25 million dollar project was in-part supported by the Oregon Business Energy Tax Credit, a renewable energy subsidy which will experience large reductions in the 2011-2013 budget cycle.
OIT is leading the way with about 10,000 (of the approximately 20,000 total) solar panels to be located on-site, generating 35 percent of OIT's electricity needs and cutting the institute's carbon emissions tremendously. The total peak energy output of the solar project will be 4.9 megawatts, enough to power about 900 homes. The developer, REDCO, is leasing the sites for the solar arrays and will reach an agreement to sell the power back to the universities at an attractive price. Universities are expected to save $6.6 million between the three initial campuses on energy costs over the next 25 years.
The motivation for such a large-scale project was generated by Gov. Ted Kulongoski, who proposed a challenge to make all state buildings operate with 100 percent renewable electricity. In addition to state political support, the arrays will use panels from SolarWorld, a company based in Hillsboro, OR, and inverters made in Bend.
The second phase of the project will add solar to other campuses in the OUS system, including Portland State University, Southern Oregon University, University of Oregon and Western Oregon University.
Feature Story Image: By Kincuri
Oregon University System launches giant solar energy project (The Oregonian)
Largest solar project in Oregon breaks ground (Daily Journal of Commerce)
Universities Collaborate To Build Oregon's Largest Solar Project (Energy Matters)
On-site, renewable energy to power school (Register-Guard)