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Posts tagged ‘sun’

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.

City Celebrates a Trio of Landmark Solar Projects

Mayor Ralph Becker, Sustainability Director Vicki Bennett, Rocky Mountain Power’s Alene Bentley and Salt Lake City Police Officer Bill Silvers gathered today to mark the completion of three landmark solar projects at the City’s solar farm.

“Salt Lake City made a commitment to reduce our impact on air quality by embracing sustainable energy and transportation initiatives,” said Mayor Ralph Becker. “Today we celebrate three projects that represent a huge leap forward for the City and our community. Not only are we flipping the switch on our new solar farm – which will generate over 1.2 million kilowatt-hours of sustainable energy per year – we are marking two new rooftop installations on Plaza 349 and the Public Safety Building.”

Over 4,000 solar panels were installed on the three project sites, which will generate 1.7 million kilowatt-hours annually. Generating an equivalent amount of electricity would require over 1.8 million pounds of coal each year. All solar panels installed have a 25-year power output warranty and expected life of up to 40 years, protecting the City’s investment for many years to come.

In total, the three projects will reduce CO2 emissions from City operations by three million pounds per year, while also creating a positive air quality impact.

Public Safety Building: Rooftop

The roof of the Public Safety Building is covered by over 1,000 solar panels with a total capacity of 350 kilowatts. These panels complement the 30 kilowatt solar canopy that shades visitors entering the building and help the project achieve a net zero energy status. In addition to providing power for daily operations, 30 percent of the rooftop solar panels have been wired to provide emergency electricity directly to the building in the event of a power blackout.

Public Safety Building: Solar Farm

This 3,000 panel ground-mounted solar array was developed to help offset the energy and carbon emissions associated with the new Public Safety Building. Located west of downtown Salt Lake City, this solar installation is the largest ever completed by Salt Lake City Corporation. The 1.2 million kilowatt-hours generated annually is enough to power 130 average Utah homes from now through at least 2040.

Plaza 349: Rooftop

Plaza 349 in downtown Salt Lake City is home to a variety of City operations, including Engineering, Transportation and Technology. The work of these employees will now be powered in part by clean, renewable energy thanks to a funding award from the Rocky Mountain Power Blue Sky program, made possible by more than 38,000 Blue Sky customers in Utah. The City used Blue Sky Community Project Funds to place 136 solar panels atop the roof of this recently renovated building. The public is invited to track production of this solar array in real-time online.

And the City isn’t stopping here! We’re exploring a wide range of sustainable energy sources, from solar to small-scale hydroelectric and everything in between. Stay tuned…