Aug. 23, 2011
Partners break ground on nation’s largest solar highway project
Federal Highway Administrator congratulates Oregon for leadership in sustainability
PORTLAND, Ore. — Federal Highway Administrator Victor Mendez congratulated Oregon for its leadership in sustainable transportation as Portland General Electric (NYSE: POR) and the Oregon Department of Transportation broke ground today on the nation’s largest solar highway project.
The $10 million project, at the Baldock Safety Rest Area on Interstate 5 northbound near Wilsonville, will include an interpretive display where the public can view the 1.75-megawatt solar array and learn about solar power and Oregon’s solar highway installations. The project will generate up to 1.97 million kilowatt-hours per year of renewable energy — equivalent to nearly 9 percent of ODOT’s need in PGE’s service area.
“Between this project – the largest of its kind in the nation — and the solar interchange a few miles north of here, it’s clear the road to the future starts here in Oregon,” Mendez said. “Well done, Oregon, for leading the way in building the solar highway.”
The Baldock Solar Highway — an all-Oregon project — is being built on seven acres of ODOT-owned property behind the rest area. PGE will build and operate the project, which is expected to go online in January 2012.
“With this project, we’re helping Oregonians understand how solar power benefits us all,” said Matt Garrett, ODOT director. “But we’re accomplishing more than just installing a solar array: we’re supporting local businesses, local workers and the state economy.”
PGE will install 6,994 panels produced by SolarWorld of Hillsboro, with inverters provided by Advanced Energy of Bend. All other consulting, construction, analysis and other materials also will be provided by Oregon companies.
“These companies are helping diversify Oregon’s economy and build our state’s reputation as a solar manufacturing hub,” said Jim Piro, PGE president and CEO. “PGE will continue to work with our customers to install solar projects for their homes and businesses and support this growing part of our economy.”
The project also will help PGE meet the state’s Renewable Energy Standard of providing 25 percent of its power from renewable energy sources by 2025.
Bank of America is providing financing for the project. “Bank of America is pleased to be able to finance this important project,” said Rich Brown, Bank of America regional executive. “It is a symbol of the public-private partnerships, innovation, and commitment that make PGE and the state of Oregon leaders in the nation's quest for a clean energy future.”
The project also is supported by funds from the Energy Trust of Oregon, PGE’s Clean Wind program and the state’s Business Energy Tax Credit program.
“Energy Trust feels strongly that solar will continue to play a major role in the long-term clean energy future for Oregon, and we’re pleased to be supporting this landmark project with an incentive of $1.75 million,” said John Reynolds, Energy Trust board president. “We look forward to seeing more innovative partnerships like this to continue our progress toward a clean, renewable energy future.”
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About Portland General Electric
Portland General Electric, headquartered in Portland, Ore., is a fully integrated electric utility that serves approximately 825,000 residential, commercial and industrial customers in Oregon. For more information visit www.PortlandGeneral.com.
For more information, contact:
Elaina Medina, PGE,