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08/13/2008 08:20 AM     print story email story  

Oregon Breaks Ground on First Solar Highway News

Oregon is installing the nation’s first solar demonstration project in a highway right of way, moving the state a step further in its role as a leader in renewable power development.

The project is the result of collaboration with Portland General Electric (PGE), US Bank and the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT), and the materials and installation will be provided by Oregon companies.

“Before the year is over, this ground will hold the nation’s first Solar Highway project, and Oregon will make history using the power of the sun to light this interchange,” Governor Ted Kulongoski said. “More importantly, this project will represent a new era for energy in Oregon. It will represent a step forward toward our vision of an energy independent Oregon--and it will represent the endless opportunities before us to chart this course of clean, reliable and renewable energy for our state.”

The Governor and ODOT, in partnership with PGE and US Bank, unveiled the project that will help light the way for drivers at the Interstate 5 and Interstate 205 interchange in Tualatin.

The solar highway demonstration project is an “all Oregon” effort — Oregon companies will supply materials, design and install this collaborative project. SolarWorld AG of Hillsboro will supply the solar panels, and PV Powered, Inc. of Bend will supply the inverter.

The 104-kilowatt solar photovoltaic system--covering about 8,000 square feet and roughly the length of two football fields--will produce about 112,000 kilowatt hours a year, or 28% of the 400,000 kilowatt hours used to light the interchange. The $1.3 million project is expected to be completed and online in December 2008.

Electricity for the highway interchange is provided by PGE and the added solar power will be handled through a net metering arrangement. The solar panels will produce electricity during the day, supplying power onto the PGE grid, and PGE will return an equivalent amount of power at night to light the interchange.

The project will be designed, constructed and installed by SolarWay, a “turn-key” solar energy engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) consortium consisting of four Oregon firms: Aadland Evans Constructors, Inc., of Portland as the general contractor; Moyano Leadership Group, Inc., of Salem as the project manager and design leader; Advanced Energy Systems of Eugene as the solar power specialty designer and installer, and Good Company of Eugene as the community and sustainability specialist. 


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