The North Willamette Research and Extension Center, the site of OSU’s newest solar array, has been successfully using the produced energy for more than 5 months now.
The solar array is part of a larger OSU initiative to utilize alternative energy at its facilities. This installation, on the NWREC’s 160 acre farm across from Charbonneau and Miley Road, began construction last October and began producing electricity at the beginning of the new year.
The Center’s energy consumption per month is approximately 20,000 kWh and the new array has been producing between 23,000 and 35,000 kWh, considerably more than is needed. Conveniently, the excess energy is put back into the grid and the Center is given credits towards energy use during the lower production months. It is forecasted that six to seven months of the year the array will produce more energy than necessary which will help cover the remaining costs.
At NWREC, bills are paid to Solar City, who owns the array and is responsible for all the operations and maintenance, as well as PGE for line/meter charges and any power needed that isn’t produced with the solar system. So far, the NWREC expects to reduce annual electrical bills by about 50% or $10-50,000.
Don’t forget you can monitor the array’s data records here to see how they are doing now and in the months to come.