Nation's largest 'solar highway' planned for south of Portland

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by CYD DUTCHER / KING 5 News

KING5.com

Posted on August 24, 2011 at 10:44 AM

WILSONVILLE, Ore. -- The nation's largest "solar highway" has been planned for an area south of Portland. A seven-acre dirt field along Interstate 5 northbound in Oregon will eventually be filled with 7,000 solar panels, as planned by Portland General Electric and the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT).

The $10 million solar project will produce enough energy to power nearly 9 percent of ODOT’s power needs in the Portland General Electric service area. The panels will light the Baldock Safety Rest Area, a busy rest-stop on I-5 near Wilsonville, Oregon and will also provide power to 165 homes.  

The Federal Highway Administrator, Victor Mendez, congratulated Oregon for this sustainable transportation initiative after the plans were officially announced Tuesday, as reported in a recent press release from Portland General Electric.
 
“Between this project – the largest of its kind in the nation – and the solar interchange a few miles north of here, it’s clear the road to the future starts here in Oregon,” said Mendez. “Well done, Oregon, for leading the way in building the solar highway.”
   
Portland General Electric says the project will help them meet Oregon’s Renewable Energy Standard goal of providing 25 percent of the its power from renewable energy sources by the year 2025.

The solar project will begin operating in January.

To learn more, visit the ODOT website here or the Portland General Electric press release about the project here.
 

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