Oregon’s New Solar Highway

By Friday, August 8, 2008 8 0

Solar Plus WndOregon’s new ‘solar highway’ project officially kicked off yesterday at the I-5/I205 interchange — yet another intersection between energy and transportation as the fields work toward sustainability (see Electric Vehicles).

Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) is partnering with Portland General Electric to install solar panels that will produce 104 kilowatts of energy — equivalent to 28% of what it takes to light the highway interchange. Solar World AG sourced the panels, while the inverter came from PV Powered Inc. SolarWay (actually four firms) is designing, constructing and installing the project.

I mention those companies because they are all Oregon companies and a make-or-break element of sustainability is economic transformation. Sustainability has to create new jobs, as in renewable energy, at the same time that it’s (hopefully) ushering out jobs based on fossil fuels, i.e. coal and oil. Oregon lost many timber jobs when logging was sharply curtailed, and the rural counties especially are suffering badly. Solar energy and wind energy can quite possibly replace the economic prosperity lost, and even gain new ground.

Oregon’s Governor Kulongoski is working for that economic transformation. He points out that the solar highway project was made possible largely by the state’s business energy tax credit (BETC pronounced Betsy) for renewable energy projects. “Reducing our overall carbon footprint will define who we are as a people, as a state, and I believe . . . as a nation.”

The photo above by Steve Roe is not of the solar highway (which involves PV panels only). But the marriage it depicts of wind turbines and solar panels in the same installation, against a dynamic sky, was way too romantic for me to pass up.

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  • white
    September 14, 2011

    Useful specifics shared..Iam incredibly happy to read this article..thanks for giving us nice information.Wonderful walk-through.

  • denver it
    August 16, 2011

    A powerful share, I just passed this onto a colleague who was doing a bit of similar evaluation on this. He actually purchased me breakfast because I found it for him.. smile.

  • walmart free samples
    May 3, 2011

    Yet another great blog! Really looking forward to more!

  • Caramoan Island ·
    November 9, 2010

    we have a solar panel at home that my father built, it can generate 500 watts of electricity ~

  • Arthritis Remedy 
    October 20, 2010

    solar panel prices are getting lower and lower, soon we can afford to buy those high power solar panels”,~

  • Isabel Lee
    October 5, 2010

    solar panels for homes are still expensive and requires some large capital to install~,-

  •  PCSO Lotto Result
    August 19, 2010

    i just wish that they could soon reduce the cost of solar panels coz it is still expensive:”‘

  • Dhaval Patel
    August 16, 2008

    This is great news. I hope that other states follow your trend. It would be great to get some numbers behind this so that other states can see the cost benefit over time. I hope somebody is also doing research which keeps track of the effect this kind of a policy is having on the environment.