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Oregon State University comes back for more solar in 2014

By Oregon State University

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In 2012, 2013 and 2014, three 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.

The three arrays cover about five 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. The Aurora site is 220 kilowatts and is on the North Willamette Research and Extension Center (NWREC) farm across from Charbonneau and Miley Road. All three sites were developed with the cooperation of the OSU College of Agricultural Sciences, to which the property is assigned.

North Willamette Research and Extension Center (NWREC) Data

The 221 kilowatt solar array across from Charbonneau and Miley Road is tied electrically to the NWREC farm, the array will generate up to 80% of the farm's electrical needs and will save the 160-acre agricultural research center up to $15,000 in yearly energy cost. Click the link above for real-time solar production on SolarCity's SolarGuard site. Partners for this installation include the North Willamette Research and Extension Center.

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Salmon Disease Lab Solar Field Production Data

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.

Salmon Disease Lab solar array on a cloudy day

Salmon Disease Lab solar array

OSU 53rd Street Solar Field Production Data

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.

 

53rd St. Solar in the fog

OSU 53rd St solar site

 

The three arrays produce more than 1,130,000 kilowatt hours annually, combined.  According to the US EPA’s Greenhouse Gas Equivalencies Calculator, that is equivalent to reducing carbon dioxide emissions from 89,380 gallons of gasoline, eliminating greenhouse gas emissions from 166 passenger vehicles, or offsetting CO2 emissions from the electricity use of 110 homes for a year.

How It Works

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.

 

 
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