Gresham is celebrating its new claim to fame: Being home to the largest ground-mounted solar facility in the Pacific Northwest.
A grand opening of sorts is set for 10 a.m. Tuesday, Feb. 9, at the city’s wastewater treatment plant, 20015 N.E. Sandy Blvd.
REC Solar Inc. installed the solar panels at no cost to local ratepayers. The panels cover an entire acre on the wastewater treatment plant’s southeast corner, which faces busy Sandy Boulevard.
The array is considered a benchmark project because while other municipal buildings have installed solar array projects, none are as large as Gresham’s, said Laura Bridges-Shepard, the city’s spokeswoman.
Seventy percent of the power used by Gresham’s wastewater facility is already considered sustainable — 50 percent is produced on site by converting methane gas into energy and another 20 percent is from wind power purchased from Portland General Electric.
The solar panels are expected to generate on average 8 percent of the plant’s annual electricity usage.
Gresham has entered into a 20-year power purchasing agreement with solar electricity company SunEdison, which owns, operates and maintains the solar array, valued at approximately $2 million. In return, the city is buying the power it generates.
Over the purchasing agreement’s 20 years, the cost savings to the city is estimated at $102,500.
Mara Stein, The Outlook – http://www.theoutlookonline.com/news/story.php?story_id=126516578157773100