Mt. Ashland Ski Area celebrates solar array

The Mt. Ashland Association will hold a ribbon-cutting ceremony to commemorate the installation of an array of solar panels at the ski area at 2 p.m. Friday, Aug. 26, in the ski area parking lot at 11 Mt. Ashland Ski Road. Light refreshments will be served.

The panels are expected to offset 12 percent of annual energy use at the ski area. The $113,000 project is supported in part by Pacific Power’s Blue Sky Program customers and the Energy Trust of Oregon, in partnership with Mt. Ashland’s donors and sponsors. 

“We are so excited about this project,” said Hiram Towle, Mt. Ashland’s general manager. “From reduced energy costs to using more renewable energy, it’s a big win-win for us and our community. We are one of only a handful of ski areas in the country with solar panels." 

The ski area experiences peak energy use during winter months when solar power generation will be lower. However, because the system is tied into the power grid through a net metering agreement with Pacific Power, the ski area will be producing power during summer months, which will be deducted from energy used during the winter. 

“Our partners Pacific Power and the Energy Trust of Oregon have made this project possible,” Towle said. “We could not have even considered it without their generous support. With our donors and sponsors covering the remaining costs, there is an immediate return on investment” 

As part of the installation, the contractor True South Solar installed energy monitors so that guests can view the on-site energy production at a kiosk in the ski area’s lodge and on the ski area website at www.mtashland.com/solar. 

The solar panels are installed on the roof of the ski area’s vehicle shop. The shop, which faces “true south” and has no overhanging trees nearby is perfectly situated for the installation and guests will be able to view the panels from the ski area parking lot. 

This project is supported by voluntary contributions made by Pacific Power’s Blue Sky renewable energy program customers. For more information about supporting renewable energy through Pacific Power’s Blue Sky program, visit pacificpower.net/bluesky. 

Those planning to attend the ribbon cutting are asked to RSVP by emailing mstringer@mtashland.com. 

Mt. Ashland is a nonprofit ski area owned and operated by the Mt. Ashland Association under a special use permit from the U.S. Forest Service.

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