REDMOND, OR -- A new solar farm is taking shape south of Redmond. Ontario, Canada-based Saturn Power is developing the solar field on an 85-acre parcel along Highway 97, near the Redmond Rod and Gun Club.
Larry Henry is the local project manager for Saturn Power. He tells KBND News, "Our project is a little bit different maybe than some of the other projects folks have seen around the area in that ours is what is called a fixed-rack system, so the panels are permanently fixed; they don’t track the sun. The fixed-rack is generally less expensive to install and certainly less expensive to maintain over the life of the project." Henry says the company began working through the land use process with the county a few years ago, to determine whether it was an appropriate location. "'Is it a good site? Is it close enough to infrastructure that allows us to access the power grid someplace?' And, 'Are we close enough to a substation that can handle the amount of energy that we want to put into the grid?' This will go into PacifiCorp’s substation on SW 61st Street, so about three miles south of the project site."
Henry is also overseeing a similar project outside of Chiloquin. "The driving force behind the solar fields you are seeing being developed in the area is the state of Oregon’s commitment to a certain percentage of power in the state what they would consider green or renewable. We’re seeing that number go from 25% to 30% of the total power."
More than 4,000 posts are in the ground at the Deschutes County site, near the Redmond Rod and Gun Club. Tables will go in over the next week and Henry believes the actual solar panels will be installed in September. It should be operational by the end of the year.