OUS solar project hits bump with REDCO bankruptcy
By Christina Williams
Sustainable Business Oregon editor
The Oregon University System's aggressive solar plan hit a speed bump when its developer filed for bankruptcy protection.
The developer selected by the Oregon University System to build what was to be the state's largest solar project filed for bankruptcy at the end of the last year, leaving the state scrambling to find a replacement.
Utah-based Renewable Energy Development Corp., known as REDCO, filed Chapter 7 bankruptcy protection on Dec. 30, 2011 leaving the ambitious solar project, which aims to install large solar arrays at each of the state's public universities, without a developer.
Bob Simonton, OUS assistant vice chancellor for capital programs, said the program, announced with great fanfare last August, would move forward, just with a new developer.
Under the original plan, REDCO was to lease the land for the solar installations from the universities, a total of 27 acres for the first phase of the project, and sell the solar power back to the universities. The first phase of the project — with solar installations at Oregon Institute of Technology, Eastern Oregon University and Oregon State University was expected to deliver close to 5 megawatts of solar energy, enough to power about 900 homes and save the schools a projected $6 million in energy costs over 25 years.
Because REDCO was on the hook for developing the projects and getting them up and running, the state didn't lose any money as a result of the bankruptcy.
"They're the ones out of money," Simonton said. "They did quite a bit of engineering work on the project."
Simonton said he is in negotiations with a new developer and hopes to have one for the OUS board to approve in April.
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