OIT Getting 'Solar By Degrees'

, Written by Lyle Ahrens, Posted: Fri, February 22 2013 at 1:35 PM, Updated: Fri, February 22 2013 at 1:44 PM

Efforts to put in solar panels to generate power at Oregon Institute of Technology have hit several delays...but the project still has a bright future.

Governor Kitzhaber helped to kick off the 'Solar By Degrees' program in August of 2011, when ground was broken to put solar panels on a hill behind O.I.T.

The Governor noted:  "You'll be the first campus in the nation that is 100% renewable, and can generate all of its power needs for heat and lighting right there on campus."

A year and a half later, there are still no panels on the hill.

"Several companies have tried and failed."  Explains Bob Simonton, Project Director at O.I.T.  "The current company, Solar City, is actually accomplishing what we initially set out to do."

Solar City has already completed two solar array fields at Oregon State University.  Simonton notes that they're scheduled to begin work at O.I.T. next...

"The current schedule is to start construction around June...the project is to be up and running, online, by the end of November."

Geothermal wells are also being developed to generate electrical power.  Coupled with the solar array, O.I.T. could be the first energy independent campus on the planet.

The effort to introduce solar power at O.I.T. has been taking place by degrees - but O.I.T. officials are confident that it will be worth the wait.

Eastern Oregon University in LaGrande is the third Oregon campus scheduled to get a large-scale solar panel array through the 'Solar By Degrees' program.

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About the Author

Lyle Ahrens

KOTI-TV NBC2 reporter Lyle Ahrens moved from Nebraska to Klamath Falls in the late 1970's.  He instantly fell in love with the mountains, the trees and the rivers, and never once regretted the move.

Lyle's job history is quite colorful.  He’s managed a pizza parlor; he’s been a bartender, and a “kiwifruit grader” at an organic orchard in New Zealand.  A Klamath Falls radio station hired Lyle in the mid 90's as a news writer and commercial producer.  In 2004, Lyle joined the KOTI/KOBI news operation.

Lyle notes with pride that he has a big responsibility presenting the Klamath Basin to a wide and varied audience.  "The on-going water crisis has underscored the fact that the people and the issues in the Klamath Basin are every bit as diverse as the terrain.  Winning and keeping the trust of the viewers, as well as the newsmakers, is something I strive for with each story".

When he's not busy reporting the news, Lyle enjoys astronomy, playing guitar, fixing old radios and listening to anything by Sheryl Crow.

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