A California company is ready to take advantage of Pendleton’s bright summer months.
Cypress Creek Renewables and its subsidiary NorWest Energy 9 are in the midst of building a 6-megawatt solar array on 58 acres of land at the Eastern Oregon Regional Airport.
In development since 2014, the solar array will provide energy to a Pacific Power through a purchasing agreement.
Airport Manager Steve Chrisman said construction is proceeding without many hitches, even as Cyprus Creek navigates the active grazing pasture that shares its space.
“We had to scoot over a few cows when they got into the stakes, but otherwise it’s going smoothly,” he said.
Cyprus Creek paid the city $9,750 per year to hold onto the land, and now that the construction is underway, the city will begin collecting $29,000 every six months, with the rental rate rising by 2.5 percent each year.
Chrisman said Pendleton was already the most solarized town per capita in the state, and the new array would ensure it would blow other communities “out of the water.”
Between commercial, residential and government installations, Public Works Director Bob Patterson said Pendleton was already generating 1 megawatt of solar power.
When Cypress Creek’s array begins pumping power to the Pacific Power substation at the base of Airport Hill, Patterson said the resulting 7 megawatts of collective solar power is enough to meet the city’s average energy demand. It will also meet half the city’s peak demand megawatt level.
While the new array will bolster Pendleton’s solar power, it will be business as usual for Cypress Creek.
The Santa Monica, California-based company operates 70 solar arrays across seven states, including Oregon, Idaho, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Indiana and Minnesota, according to the Cypress Creek website.
Not including the in-progress Pendleton facility, the company’s Oregon arrays generate more than 78 megawatts across seven facilities in Bend, Nyssa, Ontario and Vale.
Cypress Creek did not return a request for comment as of press time.
Chrisman said the array should be complete in the next 60 to 90 days.