REDMOND, OR -- Central Oregon Community College expects to break ground next month on a large solar array in Redmond. Vice President for Administration Matthew McCoy is overseeing the project and tells KBND News that the large ground-mounted array will be located on a piece of the school’s property that is considered unbuildable, due to its proximity to the Redmond Airport.
"It will be a very high profile location, a great learning opportunity, and also a great recruiting opportunity ... for businesses coming to Central Oregon and seeing that we’re technology focused and sustainable energy focused," McCoy says. "When you compliment the Redmond technology education center with this solar array, I think it just offers many opportunities in both learning and recruiting of businesses."
McCoy says the project is more than just about renewable energy. "In addition to its being a wonderful opportunity for us to generate renewable energy ... it’s a great learning opportunity," McCoy says. "With our Sustainable Energy Engineering program at the college, we’ll be looking at ways to bring the technology that’s in the solar array into the classroom in learning opportunities for our students." The array should be fully functional by fall 2015.
The project is expected to cost about $2 million, but COCC is one of four local endeavors receiving a share of new grant money. "We're very excited to be supported by Pacific Power through their Blue Sky investment," McCoy says. "And, it’s investing in a large solar array to be located on our Redmond campus. Five hundred kilowatts of solar-generating power. The plan is to have that built by the fall of this year, 2015."
COCC will receive $320,000 from Pacific Power's Blue Sky renewable energy program. The Bend Habitat Restore, Bend First United Methodist Church and Prineville’s Pacific Crest Affordable Housing Project will share over $137,000.