Solar panels from Hillsboro manufacturer SolarWorld now power the largest solar-electric installation in the Caribbean nation of Dominican Republic.

A 1.5-megawatt solar array sits near the runway of Cibao International Airport, the country’s third-largest airport.

SolarWorld’s panels generate enough energy to support about half of the airport’s energy needs, according to company officials.

Enrique Ramirez, president of the national commission of energy, called the solar project one of the largest and most ambitious in Latin America.

“As a company with business ties to Latin America dating back more than 30 years, SolarWorld has long understood that solar power is an essential part of the region’s energy mix,” said Kevin Kilkelly, president of SolarWorld Americas. “For island nations like the Dominican Republic, solar offers a clean and cost-effective solution to dependence on expensive imported oil for power generation.”

The project uses 5,880 SolarWorld “Sunmodule” solar panels. It was developed and installed within the framework of the country’s renewable energy laws, which use tax incentives and net metering to encourage solar deployment.

City promotes Cooper to lead planner

Assistant Hillsboro Planning Director Colin Cooper has been appointed to head the planning department. He will replace former Planning Director Pat Ribellia, who retired last September. Public Works Director Tom Arnold served as interim planning director until last week, when Cooper was promoted by City Manager Michael Brown.

“This appointment recognizes the great job Colin has done leading the planning department as the assistant planning director this last year and my belief and support in Colin as a strong leader of our city’s future planning efforts,” Brown said.

Cooper will be paid $9,945 a month in his new position. A graduate of the University of Oregon, he earned his master’s degree in urban and regional planning from Portland State University. He first went to work for the city

in March 2008 as current planning supervisor and was promoted to assistant planning director in February 2012.

Among other things, Cooper has helped guide the development and adoption of the AmberGlen Community Plan and the recent Orenco Station development.

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