PORTLAND, Ore.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Smart Energy Capital, BELECTRIC, Inc. and Obsidian Finance announced today that they passed the 50% completion milestone for construction of the 5.7 megawatt “Outback Solar” photovoltaic (PV) project – the largest solar power plant in the Northwest and the first to utilize 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, OR in a high desert area that sees sunny days most of the year. The single-axis tracking ground mount solar array will utilize approximately 20,000 polycrystalline modules and is expected to produce approximately 10 million kilowatt hours 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 turn-key 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.
“With the need to schedule and deliver power real-time over the Bonneville system, Outback is undoubtedly one of the more sophisticated solar projects in the country. We have greatly appreciated the supportive and collaborative working relationship with Bonneville,” said Mike Grenier, Managing Partner, Smart Energy Capital. “This project has been successful due to the support of Oregon's network of solar advocates. We are very pleased to be joined with Smart Energy Capital to see it to conclusion,” adds David Brown, Senior Principal, Obsidian Finance.
“BELECTRIC is pleased to once again be partnering with Smart Energy Capital, building upon our successful collaboration last year constructing 30 MW of projects for the Sacramento Municipal Utility District in California. Working closely with the local sub-contractors, the BELECTRIC Team will complete the project in only three months, start-to-finish,” said David Taggart, President and COO, BELECTRIC.
“A large scale solar project that tracks the sun is an opportunity to make the most of Oregon’s solar resource,” said Margie Harris, Executive Director, Energy Trust. “We are excited to invest with Smart Energy Capital, BELECTRIC, Obsidian Finance and PGE to make this innovative project happen.”
“Portland General Electric is working hard to diversify its portfolio of renewable generating resources while maintaining a reliable supply of power for our customers,” said Jim Lobdell, PGE’s vice president for power operations and resource strategy. “The Outback project marks a significant addition to that effort, and will help us serve homes and businesses in our service area for years to come.”
About Smart Energy Capital
Smart Energy Capital, LLC (www.smartenergycapital.com) is a leader in the financing and development of solar energy projects for commercial, government and utility customers. The Company manages the development, financing, installation and operations of distributed power plants throughout the United States. Smart Energy maintains extensive relationships with an array of lenders and investors.
BELECTRIC® (www.belectric.com) was declared by independent industry organizations as the largest PV systems integrator in the world for both 2010 and 2011, having installed over 1.2GW of PV power plants globally. BELECTRIC brings a vertically integrated organization with over ten years of broad experience with utility-scale PV generation including proprietary high voltage component and system design, site-optimized project economics, turn-key EPC services, remote plant monitoring, operations, and maintenance, as well as the most aggressive performance guarantees in the industry.
About Obsidian Finance
Obsidian Finance Group is a Lake Oswego based diversified financial advisory and investment firm. Obsidian has developed or financed 22 solar PV projects in Oregon. Obsidian prides itself on its ability to solve the challenges presented when developing solar projects in rural communities.
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