Portland, Ore., September 21, 2012 — Smart Energy Capital, BELECTRIC, Inc. and Obsidian Finance announced today that they passed the 50 percent completion milestone for construction of the 5.7 MW "Outback Solar" photovoltaic (PV) project — the first solar power plant to use the Bonneville Power Administration's transmission system.
The project is made possible by a $5 million incentive from the Energy Trust of Oregon along with tax credits from the Oregon Department of Energy.
Outback is located nine miles east of Christmas Valley, Oregon in a high desert area that sees sunny days most of the year. The single-axis tracking ground mount solar array will use about 20,000 polycrystalline modules and is expected to produce about 10 million kWh annually of zero-emission electricity when fully operational in October 2012. Portland General Electric will purchase all of the output from the PV system under the terms of a 25-year power purchase agreement.
Outback's construction is expected to generate 40 to 50 construction jobs at its peak, with around 80 percent of those jobs going to Oregonians. The project is relying heavily on union labor from Portland-based electrical contractor Christenson Electric.
Smart Energy Capital arranged financing and secured the transmission rights, power purchase agreement, incentive agreements, and the engineering and construction contract.
The EPC contractor, BELECTRIC, is building Outback as a self-financed turnkey power plant, with fully automated remote control operational capabilities. Obsidian Finance started work on the project almost four years ago, acquiring key permits and the state tax credit as well as initiating work with the local electric utility and Bonneville.