Since 2013, five large grid-tied, ground-mounted solar electric (photovoltaic) arrays have been installed on agricultural lands operated by Oregon State University as part of “Solar by Degrees,” a large-scale photovoltaic power program coordinated by the Oregon University System. OSU was the first to install and have operational solar arrays. See the OSU press release.
The five arrays cover more than twelve acres combined. Three are in Corvallis two are at OSU properties elsewhere in the state. The 35th Street site is the largest, at around six acres and 1,435 kilowatts. It can be found west of the Corvallis campus on the Campus Way bike path. The 53rd Street site is 289 kilowatts and is located adjacent to the bike path just east of the Benton County Fairgrounds. The Salmon Disease Lab site, with a capacity of 482 kilowatts, is located adjacent to Trysting Tree golf course just east of the Willamette River, off the main campus.
The two locations outside Corvallis are in Aurora, Oregon and Hermiston, Oregon. In Aurora is the North Willamette Research and Extension Center (NWREC) farm across from Charbonneau Village on Miley Road. The Hermiston Agricultural Research & Extension Center houses OSU's only Eastern Oregon solar location to date. All five sites were developed in partnership with the College of Agricultural Sciences, to which the property is assigned.
OSU's largest solar installation, the 1,435 kilowatt solar array on Campus Way west of the main campus, doubles as a field for sheep grazing. The array produces power for OSU's main campus. Click the link above for real-time solar production on SolarCity's SolarGuard site.
The 221 kilowatt solar array across from Charbonneau Village on Miley Road is tied electrically to the NWREC farm. The array will generate up to 80% of the farm's electrical needs and will save the 160-acre agricultural research center up to $15,000 in yearly energy cost. Click the link above for real-time solar production on SolarCity's SolarGuard site. Partners for this installation include the North Willamette Research and Extension Center.
This 430.95 kilowatt solar array is located at the Hermiston Agricultural Research and Extension Center in Hermiston, Oregon. HAREC serves nearly 500,000 acres of irrigated agricultural in Oregon and Washington's Columbia Basin. The Center concentrates on discovery and implementation of agricultural and horticultural opportunities and provides solutions to production restraints. Click this link for real-time solar production on SolarCity's SolarGuard site.
The 481.95 kilowatt solar array adjacent to the John L. Fryer Salmon Disease Lab is tied to that facility electrically. The array produces enough power on an annual basis to supply that facility and several other OSU facilities in the area. Click the link above for real-time solar production on SolarCity's SolarGuard site. Partners for this installation include the Department of Microbiology and Department of Horticulture.
The 289.17 kilowatt array is located adjacent to the bike path just east of the Benton County Fairgrounds on 53rd Street, west of the main campus. Click the link above for real-time solar production on SolarCity's SolarGuard site. Partners for this installation include the Laboratory Animal Resources Center and the Department of Animal and Rangeland Sciences.
The five arrays produce around 3,286,780 kilowatt hours annually, combined. According to the US EPA’s Greenhouse Gas Equivalencies Calculator, that is equivalent to reducing carbon dioxide emissions from 255,025 gallons of gasoline, eliminating greenhouse gas emissions from 477 passenger vehicles, or offsetting CO2 emissions from the electricity use of 312 homes for a year.
How It Works
Under a power purchase agreement, OSU is leasing land to SolarCity, which installs, owns, maintains and operates solar equipment tied to the electric grid “downstream” from OSU electric meters. OSU purchases renewable electricity generated by the solar equipment at a rate lower than from the local utility, Trelstad said, but still relies on the utility to provide whatever power is needed beyond what the solar system can produce.
SolarWorld, the largest United States solar manufacturer, supplied more than 3,000 high-performance solar panels for the installations. SolarWorld manufactures solar technology, from raw material silicon to finished solar panels, in Hillsboro, Ore., at its 97-acre U.S. manufacturing headquarters.