Hillsboro Water Department has found another use for its Evergreen Reservoir site – power generation. Solar panels installed and brought on line in July have already produced 53 megawatt-hours of power.
Electricity generated by 570 panels is transferred back to the grid and offsets a significant share of the power needed to operate the reservoir’s pumps. This sustainable energy source results in substantial money savings for the Utilities Commission and its customers.
Honeywell Inc., an energy consulting firm, proposed a 20-year contract to install and maintain the panels. A state energy grant funded the green power investment.
The project was made even “greener” by the city’s decision to buy local. Hillsboro negotiated with Honeywell to use panels manufactured by Hillsboro-based SolarWorld, rather than those from their usual overseas supplier.
The project has gone so well that more arrays are being considered at existing and future reservoir sites. “Solar is a sustainable energy choice and one that saves our customers money, so it make sense to explore panel installation options at other appropriate sites,” says Kevin Hanway, Water Department director.
Customers interested in tracking the amount of solar power generated by the Evergreen panels can visit the Hillsboro Water Department Web site http://www.ci.hillsboro.or.us/water/Solar.aspx and view the kilowatts produced daily, weekly or monthly.
The site also shows how greenhouse gas emissions are reduced by using solar instead of other conventional forms of energy. Use the password provided on the opening page to log onto the site.