In 2012 and 2013, two large ground-mounted solar electric (photovoltaic) arrays were 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. A third, much larger installation is scheduled to be completed in late 2013.
The two arrays cover about four acres combined. 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. The 53rd Street site is 289 kilowatts and is located adjacent to the bike path just east of the Benton County Fairgrounds. Both sites were developed with the cooperation of the OSU College of Agricultural Sciences, to which the property is assigned.
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 smaller 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 two arrays produce more than 880,000 kilowatt hours annually, combined. According to the US EPA’s Greenhouse Gas Equivalencies Calculator, that is equivalent to reducing carbon dioxide emissions from 69,606 gallons of gasoline, eliminating greenhouse gas emissions from 129 passenger vehicles, or offsetting CO2 emissions from the electricity use of 93 homes for a year.
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.