Big solar arrays to sprout in state's sunnier areas
Utility-scale solar projects are sprouting up in the sunny parts of Oregon.
Business Oregon, the state economic development agency, has approved 15 utility-scale solar energy projects that will qualify for the state's new Solar Development Incentive program. With one exception, the projects are central, Southern and Eastern Oregon.
The subsidy program, adopted by the 2016 Oregon Legislature, encourages commercial-sized solar projects that provide 2 to 10 megawatts. The state subsidy provides $0.005 per kilowatt hour of energy produced each month, for up to five years.
Business Oregon figures utility-scale solar is relatively new in Oregon, and thus developers take on higher costs to be the first in the field. "Utility-scale solar is trending to be cost-competitive with traditional forms of energy generation very soon," says Jeff Bissonnette, executive director of the Oregon Solar Energy Industry Association.
Business Oregon received 55 applications for subsidies under the program, enough to produce 293 megawatts of solar power if all were selected. But the program is capped at 150 megawatts; the 15 initial projects selected would account for the bulk of that, or 116 megawatts.
Additional awards are forthcoming.
Successful projects developers, and the counties where they will build solar complexes, are:
• Coronal Energy, two projects; Jefferson and Deschutes counties
• Cypress Creek Renewables, three projects; Malheur and Deschutes counties
• ET Solar, three projects; Klamath, Baker and Lake counties
• NextEra Energy, Klamath County
• Obsidian Renewables, two projects, Lake County
• Pine Gate Renewables, two projects, Deschutes and Yamhill counties
• Solar City, Klamath County
• Sunthurst, Umatilla County