Solar farm will be Oregon’s largest
Obsidian Finance Group LLC plans to break ground in March on what will become Oregon’s largest solar energy development.
A financial advisory and investment firm, Tigard-based Obsidian in 2008 formed a subsidiary, Obsidian Renewables, to promote the development of renewable energy.
Its proposed 5-megawatt, $30 million project, dubbed Outback Solar, will spread 22,000 solar panels across 60 acres near the South Central Oregon town of Christmas Valley in Lake County. It would easily surpass the capacity of any other Oregon solar project.
Barring drastic reforms to the state’s Business Energy Tax Credit program, Obsidian has plans for two more similarly sized projects in Lake County this year. Combined, the three projects, stretched across 200 acres, would generate 15 megawatts of capacity — enough to power about 3,900 homes — and represents an investment that could reach $90 million.
And it could just be the start.
Obsidian owns more than 800 acres around Lake County.
David Brown, the senior principal at Obsidian, said the company remains first and foremost a financial services firm, not a developer of energy projects. Instead, it hopes to help foster development of its land by third-party developers, preferably through a public-private partnership.
“It’s our plan to be a sponsor of solar development,” he said.
The developments are in concert with a push by industry advocates to put solar technology on par with other utility-scale renewables.
High-capacity renewable energy has largely been the domain of hydro-electric dams and wind farms capable of generating hundreds of megawatts of power.
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