BEF Dedicates Solar Photovoltaic Generation Project

August 09, 2000 by Jeff Shepard

The Bonneville Environmental Foundation (BEF, Portland, OR) joined with the City of Ashland, Oregon, and other partners in dedicating the Northwest's newest and largest solar photovoltaic generation project on July 28. The 25kW project, divided among three key sites in downtown Ashland, last year was the first renewable energy project funded by BEF. A BEF grant of $62,500 leveraged nearly $300,000 in additional investment by the City of Ashland, the Bonneville Power Administration (BPA, Portland, OR), Avista Energy (Spokane, WA), and the State of Oregon Office of Energy. Two local institutions, the Oregon Shakespearean Festival and Southern Oregon University, each invested $15,000 in the 5kW installations located at their facilities.The system will produce enough energy to fully power the Ashland police station, and parts of the University and the Festival. Surplus energy will flow into the Ashland electric grid where it is being purchased by 250 Ashland residential and business consumers who have signed up for the solar service. Approximately 5kW of the solar output will be delivered to BPA's regional grid, where BPA will mix it with environmentally-superior wind, hydro and other "green" resources. BPA and BEF will then resell it to utilities and consumers throughout the Pacific Northwest. "We recognized that Ashland was a prime site for our first solar demonstration project," said Angus Duncan, president of BEF. "The community supports renewable energy and its citizens are willing to pay the higher costs in return for the greater environmental quality solar energy delivers."