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"PCC Rock Creek partners with SolarWorld and SolarCity for massive solar-power project"

"PCC Rock Creek partners with SolarWorld and SolarCity for massive solar-power project"

What is now an open field at Portland Community College's Rock Creek campus will be lined with more than 2,000 solar panels once a new array is installed this spring. An artist's image shows what the facility, capable of generating enough electricity to p

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The jarring juxtaposition of sheep grazing quietly beneath hundreds of new solar panels will soon take shape on Portland Community College's Rock Creek campus.

College administrators, working with a handful of industry and governmental partners, are overseeing installation of what is being billed as the largest "ground-mounted" solar array in the Portland metro area.

And it will all fit neatly into an area of the campus now devoted to a working farm which includes, among other features, plenty of sheep.

"It's really a perfect fit," Rock Creek campus President David Rule said. "I don't see how this could have turned out any better."

When completed later this spring, the 2,100-panel array is expected to produce 500,000 kilowatt hours of electricity annually. That's enough electricity to meet the needs of 40 average-size houses.

"It's a pretty impressive installation," said Ben Santarris, spokesman for Hillsboro-based SolarWorld USA, which manufactured the panels. "It will certainly be among the larger arrays around."

Money for the project is coming from a $374 million, districtwide bond measure approved by voters in 2008. One of the strings attached to that measure was an Oregon Department of Energy requirement that 1.5 percent of the value of applicable capital project be spent on solar initiatives.

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