Solar Array Works in “Rainy” Oregon
Back near the beginning of March, following the Small Farm Conference in Morgantown, I discussed the concept of installing solar panels to provide electricity to small farm operations. The vendors I interviewed indicated that some of the costs would be offset by federal programs.
A few weeks ago the King Estate Winery near Eugene, Oregon had a ribbon cutting ceremony on their four-acre solar array. The largest array in the Pacific Northwest and the largest at any winery anywhere in the U.S., it generates enough power to provide 60% of its own needs. King Estate Winery is the local electric utility’s largest customer. All of the electricity generated in the panels will go to Lane Electric’s grid. The four acre array essentially provides the power needed for 100 homes; the winery suggests that this model can be used nationwide as a method to provide sustainable power.
By the way, the King Estate Winery also has and encourages a thriving raptor population that aids in pest control by reducing the numbers of pesky rodents and birds that eat grapes. In addition to native wild raptors they offer the space for the Cascades Raptor Center as an ideal release site for orphaned and rehabilitated birds of prey.