Skip to content

Project Profile: Baldock Solar Station

Baldock Solar Station

photo credit: Sunstall


Clackamas County, Oregon

Project Sponsor / Borrower

Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT)

Program Areas

Value Capture

Value Capture Techniques

Solar Energy Use


Highway - Ancillary Systems


The Baldock Solar Station is 1.75 megawatt solar array at the French Prairie Safety Rest Area (formerly Baldock Rest Area) on I-5, 14 miles south of Portland, Oregon. The 6,994-panel array is located on a seven-acre ODOT property and produces approximately 1.97 million kWh of renewable energy (enough to power over 285 homes). Construction began in early August 2011 and the array was connected to the grid five months later.

The Baldock Solar Station generates 12 percent of ODOT's electricity need in the Portland General Electric (PGE) Service Area, helping ODOT achieve its goal of using only renewable energy to power its statewide consumption by 2025.

ODOT opted to deliver the Baldock Solar Station in partnership with PGE, the electric utility, since power generation was not a central business function. PGE's interest in the partnership lay in the legislatively mandated requirement for utilities to acquire 25 percent of their new electrical generation from renewable energy resources by 2025. Together, ODOT and PGE implemented the solar station through a third-party ownership development model. As private partner, PGE financed, built, owns, operates, and maintains the site.

To finance the project, PGE took advantage of a state renewable energy tax credit program. PGE secured Bank of America as a tax equity partner, based on a sale-leaseback agreement. That is, the utility financed and constructed the project and sold it upon completion to the tax equity partner, which then leased it back to the utility to operate and maintain. At the end of the tax recapture period, PGE would have the option to purchase the solar array back from the tax equity partner at fair market value based on the present-day value of the sale of electricity generated for the remaining life of the project. Upon purchase, the utility would add the project to its electrical generation rate base.

The agreement between ODOT and PGE extends for 25 years, with options during that time to renew in 5-year increments. When the agreement expires, PGE will either deconstruct the project and return the land to pre-project conditions or deliver it to ODOT at very low cost. If the land is needed at any time for an official purpose, ODOT may exercise its option to have the project removed. The cost for doing so decreases over time based on fair market value, which includes the remaining project value and the lost future energy sales.

ODOT does not directly purchase the energy generated by the Baldock panels, so there is no power purchase agreement. In return for use of the land, ODOT receives a small annual site license fee and a percentage of the renewable energy certificates generated over the life of the project. ODOT's percentage is equal to its share of the above-market costs to the department (site assessments, staff time, consultant fees, and the costs of public involvement). It uses those certificates toward its electricity use and can legally state that the northbound and southbound French Prairie rest areas are powered by renewable energy produced by the solar array.


$10 million

Funding Sources

Portland General Electric - $10 million

Project Delivery / Contract Method

Third Party Ownership

Private Partner

Portland General Electric

Project Advisors / Consultants

Badland Evans Constructors Inc. - General Contractor

Moyano Leadership Group Inc. - Civil Design Leader

Advanced Energy Systems - Solar Power Designer/Installer

  • HatiCon Solar and SAPA - Racking
  • SolarWorld - Solar Panels
  • Advanced Energy of Bend - Inverters

Bank of America

Duration / Status

Construction began in August 2011 and was complete in January 2012.

Financial Status / Financial Performance


  • The project was the nation's largest solar highway project at the time of construction, setting a precedent for generating sustainable energy in highway rights-of-way.
  • ODOT partnered directly with Portland General Electric, removing the negotiations over interconnection or net metering.
  • The Baldock array provides clean energy and derives value from publicly-owned land. All work on the project was performed by Oregon businesses, creating work for locals who will benefit the most from the project.
Related Links / Articles

Baldock Solar Station, ODOT Innovative Programs

FHWA Public Roads Article


Geoff Crook
ODOT Sustainability Program Manager
Tel: (503) 986-3425

back to top