Oregon’s Biggest Solar Farm Completed

An Oregon solar farm with a very Australian name has commenced operations.

US firm Constellation announced last week the completion of 5.7-megawatt solar panel based facility for Portland General Electric (PGE) in Lake County, Oregon. The solar farm has been named “Outback”.

The facility is made up of more than 20,000 ground-mounted solar panels. It is expected to generate approximately 10 million kilowatt-hours of electricity per year and avoid the production of an estimated 2,250 metric tons of carbon dioxide annually.

“Portland General Electric is working hard to diversify its portfolio of renewable generating resources while maintaining a reliable supply of power for its customers,” said Jim Lobdell, PGE’s vice president for power operations and resource strategy. “The project marks a significant addition to that effort, and will help us serve homes and businesses in our service area for years to come.”

Constellation currently owns and operates more than 126 megawatts of solar installations that are either completed or are under construction.

“This project is a great example of the success of public and private partnerships in boosting the development of renewable generation,” said Michael D. Smith, vice president of solar and energy efficiency sales for Constellation.

PGE has a goal of reaching 25 percent renewable energy by 2025. The company owns Biglow Canyon Wind Farm; which has a total installed capacity of 450 megawatts and on average generates enough electricity to power the homes of about 125,000 average PGE residential customers.

By the end of 2011, PGE was generating 11% of its electricity from wind and 6% from hydro. PGE also helped develop the USA’s first solar highway – the Oregon Solar Highway Demonstration Project. A more recent solar highway project in the company’s portfolio is the Baldock Solar Station; a 1.75-megawatt facility consisting of nearly 7,000 solar panels across seven acres of the Baldock Safety Rest Area, located on Interstate 5 northbound near Wilsonville.