SolarWorld, the largest U.S. crystalline silicon solar manufacturer for more than 40 years, will supply 10.5 megawatts (DC) of 72-cell solar panels to power a project located near Lakeview, Oregon, in the state’s south-central high-desert outback.
Working with project developer Obsidian Renewables, SolarWorld will provide solar technology to go into an 8 MW (AC) project that is expected to produce about 20.8 million kilowatt-hours of electricity a year – enough to power more than 1,800 homes.
SolarWorld began marketing 72-cell solar panels in mid-2014, and the company has dramatically increased production and sales of that product since then. The company is ramping a new factory to produce them at its U.S. hub in Hillsboro, Oregon, just to keep up with current demand, expanding annual module production capacity to 550 megawatts there.
“Obsidian Renewables is the exact type of customer we had in mind when we entered the 72-cell market, and working with customers like them we will continue to increase production and employment here in the USA,” said Ardes Johnson, SolarWorld’s U.S. vice president for sales and marketing. “Obsidian values the high quality and efficiency that comes from a company with more than 40 years of industry-leading experience.”
Obsidian Renewables, based in Lake Oswego, Oregon, is developing the ground-mounted Black Cap II system, adjacent to a similar, earlier project. Construction of the new system is expected to finish in 2016. Obsidian will sell the system’s power to PacifiCorp under a long-term power purchase agreement.
“SolarWorld’s reputation for high technological quality precedes it,” said David Brown, senior principal of Obsidian Renewables. “The market-leading output of its 72-cell product will translate into higher energy yield and therefore cost savings. The technology is ideal for tapping the solar resource at this well-located site.”
The site, formerly used for seasonal grazing, enjoys some of the Northwest’s best solar radiation, Brown said. The project, he said, has strong support from the city of Lakeview, Lake County, the Lake County Resources Initiative and the Oregon Department of Energy.