Oregon's solar highway project open to visitors

The seven-acre Baldock Solar Station is now complete and open to visitors. Click here to see our gallery of the project under construction.

The seven-acre Baldock Solar Station is now complete and open to visitors. Click here to see our gallery of the project under construction.

The nation's largest solar highway project — an array of 7,000 solar panels across seven acres — is now open for visitors.

The Baldock Solar Station, a 1.75 megawatt installation, is located along Interstate 5 northbound near Wilsonville. The Baldock project is a partnership between Portland General Electric (NYSE: POR) and Oregon Department of Transportation.

Visitors will learn about solar power and solar installations along Oregon's highways. The exhibits border a sustainable community garden put in by Oregon State University Master Gardeners.

The $10 million solar array went online in January and is expected to produce 1.97 million kilowatt-hours of energy each year — equivalent to 11 percent of ODOT’s need in PGE’s service territory.

The project features 6,994 panels produced by SolarWorld of Hillsboro, with inverters provided by Advanced Energy of Bend.

Baldock is the second joint highway solar project between PGE and ODOT and will help PGE meet the state’s Renewable Energy Standard of providing 25 percent of its power from renewable energy sources by 2025. To date, PGE has a combined 37.7 megawatts of solar power online by utility and customer resources in Oregon. Nearly 3,000 PGE customers have solar electric systems installed on their homes and businesses.

Bank of America provided financing for the project, with additional support provided by Energy Trust of Oregon, PGE’s Clean Wind program and the state’s Business Energy Tax Credit program.

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