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Posts tagged ‘solar’

Utah Regulators Approve Subscriber Solar Program

Solar-Panels

SALT LAKE CITY — The Utah Public Service Commission has approved a new program that allows customers to subscribe to some or all of their electricity from solar power. Rocky Mountain Power sought approval from the state last June for the subscriber solar program which gives customers a choice to get their power from the sun even if they cannot afford rooftop solar panels or live in apartments or condos.

Using a competitive bidding process, Rocky Mountain Power is in final negotiations with a developer to build a 20-megawatt solar farm here in Utah. The solar farm is expected to be built and on-line in late 2016.

“Utility-scale solar is the most cost-effective way to build solar and the bidding process will help us select the best economical choice for our customers,” said Lucky Morse, Rocky Mountain Power Regional Business Management Director. “It’s exciting because the pricing is very competitive and will offer customers a terrific value.”

Participants will be able to subscribe in 200-kilowatt hour blocks up to their total usage; the 20-megawatt solar farm will provide 20,000 blocks. Residential customers will receive a “locked-in” generation rate of 7.7 cents per kilowatt-hour, plus about 4 cents for transmission and distribution, totaling 11.7 cents per kilowatt-hour.

For example, a typical Utah customer uses 742 kilowatt-hours monthly and would pay an additional $1.26 each month (average) for one solar block. The benefits and costs of the program will vary depending on how much electricity a customer uses.

“High-energy users in the summer may actually pay less money for their energy because electricity costs are as high as 14.5 cents per kilowatt-hour,” added Morse. “The ‘locked-in’ rate is also a hedge if electricity prices go up in the future.”

The subscriber solar program is a great alternative for people who are renting, cannot afford solar panels, have homes that are not suited for rooftop solar, are restricted due to HOA rules, or simply don’t want rooftop solar systems. Subscribers will not have to pay upfront costs, make long-term commitments or deal with the ongoing maintenance of installed solar panels.

Salt Lake City intends to subscribe to a sizable amount of solar for its municipal operations to lock in the energy portion of the city’s bills for up to 20 years.

“Salt Lake City supports this new program aimed at expanding the portfolio of renewable energy options for our residents,” said Vicki Bennett, Salt Lake City Sustainability Director. “Subscriber Solar offers a choice for residents and business owners who are unable to install solar, but still desire a direct connection to clean energy sources. We believe this program can be a major catalyst for ongoing transitions to renewable energy in Utah.”

The voluntary program will be available on a first-come, first-served basis. Customers will be able to subscribe to the program soon. Subscribers would only pay a termination fee if they cancel their subscription before three years after they enroll.

The program will also be available for commercial and industrial customers. Customers can get more details and sign up to receive updates and put their names on a list indicating they would like to subscribe to the program at rockymountainpower.net/subscriber.

Original press release posted by Rocky Mountain Power.

Solar Farm Tour

Parawon Solar Tour (Scatec) - Aug 5, 2015Tyler Poulson (pictured) from SLCgreen traveled to Parowan, UT with a busload of other solar enthusiasts to tour Utah’s first utility scale solar project. The tour was hosted by Utah Clean Energy, EDCUtah, and the Utah Governor’s Office of Energy Development.

This project is the first of many large-scale solar installations that will occur in Utah by the end of 2016.  Additional details are included below:

• This 340,000 solar panel project is being developed by a Norwegian company (Scatec Solar), but over 80% of the onsite labor to-date and sub-contracted work is from Utah. Part of the land is being leased from an alfalfa farmer who eagerly moved his operations, and water rights, elsewhere in spacious Iron County.

• Scatec Solar has signed a 20-year Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) with Rocky Mountain Power (RMP). The contract locks in an electricity price for RMP and its customers.

• This specific solar power plant covers 630 acres. Each row of panels will track the sun east-to-west daily to produce enough electricity for about 60,000 energy-efficient residential customers (assuming use of 3,400 kWh / year). See a panoramic view of the plant.  Generating the same amount of electricity with coal over a 25-year time frame (equal to the warranty of the panels), would require about 13,000 pounds of coal per individual panel installed.

• This 104 megawatt (DC) solar project will be fully operational in December 2015, but represents just 10% of the total new utility-scale solar development that will occur in Utah over the next 17 months. An additional 900 MW, over roughly 3,000,000 new solar panels, will be added by third-party companies. All of these arrangements are contracted through PPAs with RMP at Avoided Cost pricing, locking in a fixed rate for energy for decades.

Here is a link to a video about the tour, and more photos are available on Utah Clean Energy’s Facebook page.

SLCgreen director touts city’s efforts toward sustainability, meets with President Obama during Utah visit (FOX13 Story)

VickiFOX13

SLCgreen Director Vicki Bennett was recently profiled by FOX 13 News during President’s Obama’s visit to Utah. Click on the screenshot above to view the video. Here is the transcript:

SALT LAKE CITY — Vicki Bennett has been with Salt Lake City for 14 years, and she said this city in particular has been on the forefront of sustainability.

The word sustainability can mean different things to different people, but for Bennett and Salt Lake City Mayor Ralph Becker’s administration, it comes down a pretty basic concept.

She said: “How do we ensure we keep Salt Lake City the best we can, for now and for our children? We want people to want to continue to want to live here, we want a healthy environment.”

During Becker’s nearly two terms, Bennett has helped lead the mayor’s sustainability team by developing solar energy projects, reducing carbon emissions and encouraging local business owners to meet air quality and energy targets by evaluating their building’s energy use, setting energy-saving goals, and conducting energy-saving improvement projects.

“And what’s so exciting is that Salt Lake’s sustainability program, if you talk to our peers, is considered one of the top 10 in the nation, for a small city,” Bennett said.

Those efforts have also been noticed by leaders in Washington D.C.

Mayor Becker and President Barack Obama share a similar vision regarding sustainability, and it has helped them forge a strong, working relationship. Bennett said that in turn helps the effort back in Salt Lake City.

“He’s been able to get us a voice in the White House,” she said. “Because of that, we’ve been able to get funding for grants that a lot of cities aren’t even invited to apply for.”

Bennett knows there will soon be a new mayor but said she believes Salt Lake City’s advances in walkable housing, transportation, solar power and recycling are here to stay.

“We always have to be improving our environment, we always have to be ensuring we have healthy air to breathe, that we have water quality and water quantity for our residents,” she said.

Bennett was able to briefly meet President Obama Thursday night during his visit to Utah, and she said the honor gave everyone on their staff a renewed sense of determination to move forward with sustainability efforts.

Full story, including video, available at FOX13Now.com.

What’s the true cost of solar? Public Service Commission taking comments through Friday

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Residential solar installation (Utah Clean Energy)

In August 2014, Rocky Mountain Power’s proposed $4.65 solar fee was denied by the Public Service Commission pending a cost-benefit analysis of solar. The Public Service Commission agreed with Utah Clean Energy that Utah’s net metering law requires an evidentiary finding that the costs of Utah’s net metering outweigh its benefits, or vice versa, before the Commission can approve a rate change specifically for net metering customers. The Commission opened an investigation into the costs and benefits of Rocky Mountain Power’s net metering program, which is now underway. (source: Utah Clean Energy)

The Utah Public Service Commission is requesting comments by Friday, February 6th on the cost-benefit criteria that should be used. The Commission is specifically asking for input on four points, details are available on the Commission’s website.

Solar is a clean, renewable source of energy that has many benefits to the community, including social, environmental and economic benefits. Salt Lake City will be submitting comments encouraging a holistic assessment that includes these benefits.

Docket information, including previously submitted Public Comment, are available online.

Rules for submitting formal Public Comment (e.g., Original plus 10 copies provided to Commission) are also available online. Hard copies should be sent to:

Utah Public Service Commission
Heber M. Wells Building
160 East 300 South
Salt Lake City, UT 84114

Community Incentives for Energy Efficiency

Our friends at the USGBC Utah are hosting a Community Incentives for Energy Efficiency event on Thursday, January 15, 2015 from 6:00 – 8:00 p.m. And you’re invited!

Register now.

The one and a half hour presentation will include presentations on energy efficiency incentives, solar programs, cost saving activities home owners and renters can implement, and updates on Utah laws. The presentation will also include a highlight of Salt Lake City’s Project Skyline.

Community Incentives for Energy Efficiency is an education program from the LIVE Team of the US Green Building Council – Utah Chapter.

Community Incentives for Energy Efficiency
Thursday, January 15, 2015
6:00 – 8:00 p.m.
Wasatch Retreat and Conference Center
Register.

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SLCgreen Highlights from 2014

Happy New Year! It’s been a busy year for the Salt Lake City Green team, and we look forward to an exciting 2015 with your ongoing support. Since we’re in a reflective mood, take a look at some of our highlights from 2014.

Climate Task Force

We started the year with Mayor Ralph Becker’s appointment to the White House’s Task Force on Climate Preparedness and Resilience. Both Mayor Becker and Sustainability Director Vicki Bennett attended a series of round tables throughout the year, which culminated in the presentation of recommendations to the President in Washington D.C.

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Project Skyline

In May, Salt Lake City hosted EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy for a historic visit. In addition to a round table discussion with key partners, Administrator McCarthy joined Mayor Becker to kick off Project Skyline and the Mayor’s Skyline Challenge, a new initiative to curb energy waste from our city’s commercial buildings. SLCgov.com/ProjectSkyline

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SmartTrips Sugar House

During the summer, we kicked off a new year of SmartTrips in the Sugar House/S-Line neighborhood. The program focused on encouraging residents to walk, bike and take public transit to reduce their vehicle trips and impact on air quality. It was a great success! Over 500 households participated, increasing their alternative transit trips by 46% during the height of the program. SmartTripsSLC.com

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SLC Goes Solar

In June, we flipped the switch on Salt Lake City’s new solar farm. The farm produces 1.2 million kilowatt-hours of clean energy annually for our net zero Public Safety Building. We also celebrated two other important solar projects at the event, rooftop installations on the Public Safety Building and Plaza 349. Over 4,000 solar panels were installed on the three project sites, which will generate 1.7 million kilowatt-hours annually. SLCgreenBlog.com

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Popperton Plots Community Garden

In August we celebrated the successful opening and dedication of the Popperton Plots Community Garden in the Avenues. Popperton is one of the first community gardens to open on a parcel of city-owned land, made available through an expanded Green City Growers program. Popperton was also the receipient of a Partners for Places grant to support their development. It was a wonderful harvest celebration and an important milestone! More plots are available for development: SLCgreenblog.com

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Sustainable Business Leadership Award

In November, Sustainability Director Vicki Bennett was recognized by Utah Business Magazine with a Sustainable Leadership Award, and the whole SLCgreen team was there to help her celebrate! Vicki has led Salt Lake City’s award-winning Salt Lake City Green program for 13 years, spearheading initiatives to reduce carbon emissions, improve air quality and divert waste from the landfill. Congratulations, Vicki! SLCgreenblog.com

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You’re Invited: U Community Solar Workshop

Usolar

If you are a homeowner interested in going solar, be sure to attend a U Community Solar workshop! U Community Solar will bring you access to solar savings (through a volume discount) and a community network to guide you through a streamlined solar installation process.

U Community Solar Workshop!

Location:
Gould Auditorium
J. Willard Mariott Library
295 S 1500 E
Salt Lake City, UT 84112

Date & Time:
Thursday, June 5th
12:00 PM – 1:30 PM

Register to attend

This workshop will guide you through the process of installing solar with U Community Solar.  Learn how U Community Solar is offering solar at a significantly reduced upfront cost and ask any questions you may have about solar and your home. If you are a homeowner interested in going solar, this is your chance to learn everything you need to know about U Community Solar!

Questions? Contact solar@utahcleanenergy or 801-363-4046 ext. 106.