Lake County adds massive solar array to its renewables roster

The Black Cap solar facility in Lake County will provide 4,500 megawatt-hours of renewable power for PacifiCorp.
Courtesy PacifiCorp

The Black Cap solar facility in Lake County will provide 4,500 megawatt-hours of renewable power for PacifiCorp.

The largest operating utility-leased solar facility in Oregon — PacifiCorp’s 2-megawatt solar array in Lake County — is grid-connected and generating power. Community, state and company leaders gathered to dedicate it last week at the 20-acre site, located about two miles west of downtown Lakeview in Oregon’s High Desert.

The Black Cap solar facility adds 4,500 megawatt-hours of renewably generated electricity to PacifiCorp’s power mix. Its development moves the utility closer to meeting the state’s renewable portfolio standard, particularly a carve-out for solar, which will require PacifiCorp to acquire 8.7 megawatts of solar generation by 2020.

“Essentially this is a 2-megawatt down payment on an 8.7-megawatt obligation,” said Tom Gauntt, spokesman for Pacific Power, the PacifiCorp utility that serves Lakeview and other parts of Oregon.

Black Cap — named for a prominent geologic feature nearby — will produce enough electricity to meet the annual energy needs of about 400 average residential customers. It has nearly 9,000 photovoltaic panels that tilt automatically to follow the sun during the day, maximizing solar generation.

“This added efficiency makes it an even better long-term investment for our customers,” Pat Reiten, president and CEO of Pacific Power, said at Black Cap’s opening ceremony.

Audrey Henry, executive director of the Lake County Chamber of Commerce, added that the project “is a valuable investment in our community and brings us closer to our goal of being a leader nationally in renewable energy.”

That goal has been a steady pursuit for Lake County since the Lake County Resource Initiative began steering efforts toward economic development through renewable energy, putting the county on a path to be a net-exporter of renewable energy by December 2012.

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