Oregon city microgrid designed by Stracker Solar earns state grant money

Stracker Solar Ashland plans

The Oregon Department of Energy awarded $940,000 in funds to pay 100% of the project costs for an energy resilience project designed by Stracker Solar for the City of Ashland (plans shown above). Awards were chosen based on project feasibility and strength, cost savings, economic development, and equity goals such as environmental justice.

The City Council worked with the engineers at Stracker Solar and city staff from the Public Works and Electrical departments before choosing the City Service Center site for the project, where the police and electric departments as well as city vehicle fueling and charging stations are located.

“Kudos to the City Council and the Mayor for their foresight in helping us garner the funds for this high-profile solar resilience project for city emergency services, at no cost to the city” says Jeff Sharpe of Stracker Solar who is lead engineer for the project. “Between this grant and the one awarded to Southern Oregon University, the city has procured almost 2 million dollars from the first round of the Community Renewable Energy Grant program to advance sustainable energy for Ashland.”

The installation will consist of a 75-kW elevated dual-axis solar tracker system along with a new lithium-based battery system to form a microgrid for the site. The six-Stracker installation will produce 170,000 kWh electricity annually and support continued operation of essential services for the Electric Department and Ashland Fiber Network building, as well as continued fueling of city vehicles (which include ambulance and fire trucks), in the event of power grid failures.

The project will also provide the city’s expanding electric vehicle fleet its first 480V Level 3 Electric Vehicle Charging Stations and will include provisions to allow the electric vehicle batteries to be used for additional electricity storage in the future.

The project also includes social equity elements that helped gain the grant award. The installation is expected to be completed in early 2023.

“This initiative is a demonstration of healthy energy resilience for the community as well as a catalyst for Stracker Solar’s national expansion plans,” said Allen Gilstrap, Stracker Solar CEO.

Stracker Solar is currently enlisting EPC Partners and regional fabrication facilities as it embarks on a national expansion campaign.

The project’s elevated solar trackers will be manufactured at the company’s local fabrication facility on Jefferson Ave (Oak Street Tank and Steel). Stracker’s 20′ pole-mounting allows continued use of the grounds below, which makes the system ideally suited for parking lots, agricultural operations, school yards, community solar projects, and more. Strackers are patent-pending and carry the valued UL 3703 certification.

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