Monday, October 15, Jackson County Medford International Airport welcomed several participants in a unique groundbreaking ceremony. “Usually these things are done with shovels,” said Case, “but not this time.” This project will entail installing a 15 Kilowatt, 30’ by 60’ solar-electric canopy covering three toll booths in long-term and short-term parking lots. Penetrating the cement walkways on which these toll booths currently sit would require jackhammer style drilling.
Largely funded through Pacific Power’s Blue Sky Program, the end result that Case envisions involves lowering the airport’s electric bill. Motorists leaning out of their vehicle to pay tolls during foul weather will also appreciate the greater protection a covered canopy offers.
Monte Mendenhall, Pacific Power’s Regional Manager of Community and Economic Development, provided a simple explanation of how the Blue Sky Program functions. Customers voluntarily enroll to make contributions along with their regular monthly power bill payments. “$1.95 buys 100 KW hours of renewable energy for the community.” Mendenhall says, “That small amount is added to each donor’s bill. Right now we have 10,600 contributors whose $1.95 monthly gifts have already made possible thirty-seven other Oregon Blue Sky Projects.”
Eric Hansen, General Manager of True South Solar, the Ashland-based contractor installing RV Airport’s solar-electric canopy, stated construction would begin next week. He expressed excitement over the project, and estimated completion within three additional weeks.
Jackson County Commissioner, John Rachor, thanked Pacific Power, and commented about the flat roofs within his view that could potentially house more solar installations. He voiced gratitude for the airport’s first renewable energy project, noting he anticipated a good future for Blue Sky’s program benefits.
Several dignitaries including Mendenhall, Jackson County Commissioners, and Case himself then impressed spectators by taking turns donning hard hats and briefly operating the jackhammer to break the concrete.