With backing from lawmakers and businesses, county officials want to harness the sun and feed power directly into the grid to reduce reliance on hydroelectric dams and generate roughly $1.2 million annually for the airport.

With backing from lawmakers and businesses, county officials want to harness the sun and feed power directly into the grid to reduce reliance on hydroelectric dams and generate roughly $1.2 million annually for the airport.

If it gets built with about $45 million in federal stimulus money, a Medford solar farm would generate peak power of 7.9 megawatts, or enough juice to power more than 1,500 homes.

The Jackson County Board of Commissioners today said it wants to apply for a $5 million grant that would provide seed money to start the project and build the connections needed to put electricity back into the grid. The solar panels, which would move according to the location of the sun, would be on land owned by the county on Corona Avenue, south of Crater Lake Highway.

"Hopefully, this will be the first step of the entire project," said Commissioner Dave Gilmour.

— Damian Mann