WEDNESDAY 24 AUGUST, 2011 |
Universities Collaborate To Build Oregon's Largest Solar Project
Seven Oregon universities have combined to break ground on a massive solar
photovoltaic project which will generate clean energy for multiple campuses.
The Oregon University System (OUS) says the "Solar By Degrees" project
will generate five megawatts (MW) of power per year at staged installations of
solar panels across 27-acres of land on selected sites at the Oregon Institute
of Technology, Oregon State University, and Eastern Oregon University will
continue over coming months.
When complete, it will be the state's biggest solar PV project, and Americaís
largest solar contract on public university land.
Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber, whose state was ranked number two in the USA for
green jobs for 2011according to the Brookings Institute, says the project
further illustrates Oregonís dominance of the national renewable energy
"This project highlights Oregonís leadership in clean energy Ė and the
potential for renewable and energy efficiency to really drive our stateís
economy," he said.
The local economy will certainly benefit. Tagging the project "all
Oregon," the OUS says it will source all its solar panels from local
suppliers and use local solar contractors for installation and electrical work.
However, a Utah-based renewable energy development company, REDCO, will be
responsible for handling financial arrangements and facilitating purchase of
energy agreements for the campuses.
The OUS says each campus will see reductions in their electricity bills,
totalling an estimated $6.6 million in savings over 25 years. But more important
than money, according to Bob Simonton, OUS assistant vice chancellor for capital
programs, is the savings in carbon emissions Solar By Degrees will guarantee the
Oregon student body.
"Higher education has a distinctive role to play in helping the state
transition to more sustainable energy sources, while using this as a vehicle for
advancing energy research, engaging and training students in new technologies,
and overall being a change agent and model for sustainable practices."
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