The Student News Site of Oregon State University

The Daily Barometer

The Student News Site of Oregon State University

The Daily Barometer

The Student News Site of Oregon State University

The Daily Barometer

City of Corvallis has big solar plans

Maya Kirschenbaum
Solar panels on Fire Station #4 located on 365 SW Tunison Ave on January 18, 2024.

Shiny, black rectangles have littered the tops of buildings and fields in recent years. And no, they are not garbage. In fact, they are quite the opposite.

While driving around Corvallis, these rectangles can be seen on the roofs of fire stations and the Corvallis Municipal Airport. They are called solar panels and are an inventive way of reducing the negative impact on the environment and providing the energy the city needs to run. 

Renewable energy has become important in the past years as climate change has become a more prominent issue, according to National Geographic. Fossil fuels were once the most common way to provide energy, but that has now changed due to their negative contribution to the environment.

The City of Corvallis website lists four different facilities which have implemented solar panels: Corvallis Municipal Airport at 5695 SW Airport Ave., Fire Station 1 at 400 NW Harrison Blvd., Fire Station 4 at 365 SW Tunison Ave. and Corvallis Public Works at 1245 NW Third St. 

Patrick Rollens, public information officer for the City of Corvallis, spoke of a new addition to this list not cited online; A new solar array can now be found on top of Fire Station 3 at 1310 NW Circle Blvd. Rollens also said there are more solar projects on the horizon.

According to the city’s website, public works has 732 solar panels working to provide renewable energy while Fire Station 1 has 150 solar panels installed on the roof of the station. 

Scott Dybvad, sustainability coordinator for the City of Corvallis, said the city is working on several solar projects at the moment, one of which being the Corvallis-Benton County Public Library, and that each project begins with acquiring the panels.

“We have to go through structural engineering to see if you know there’s a flat roof on the parts that were able to put the solar on,” Dybvad said. “Something like a solar array on a rooftop would go out to bid and typically that would be a designer system and build the system kind of request that we would put out because we don’t have folks that are, you know, experts in designing solar arrays.”

Rollens said that each installed solar array was built using grant funds from several state agencies, and that these grant funds are the primary driver of solar installations in Corvallis, such as the Blue Sky block program. It was launched by Pacific Power in 2000. 

The program allows for customers across Oregon, Washington and California to purchase renewable energy credits. These funds can be used to get RECs and cover expenses of the program. Anything remaining then helps new community renewable energy projects like the solar panels in Corvallis.. Dybvad mentions it allows for college students who own or will own property to purchase green power. 

The city website has links with detailed information on energy production associated with each location with solar arrays. Additionally, clicking on the Fire station 4 system profile shows the solar panels produce half of the energy needed to support the station. 

The usage of solar panels is on the rise and Corvallis is one of those looking for more ways to incorporate them throughout the city. 

We are always on the lookout for more grant opportunities to do more solar installations for public buildings in Corvallis,” said Rollens regarding new solar installations in public buildings.

Was this article helpful?
Leave a Comment
More to Discover

Comments (0)

All The Daily Barometer Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *