World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Solar power in Utah

Article Id: WHEBN0036085934
Reproduction Date:

Title: Solar power in Utah  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Solar power in the United States, Solar power in Delaware, Solar power in Missouri, Solar power in Montana, Solar power in Arkansas
Collection: Energy in Utah, Solar Power in the United States by State
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Solar power in Utah

50 kW photovoltaic array installed June 1980 at Natural Bridges National Monument
US annual average solar energy received by a latitude tilt photovoltaic cell (modeled).

Solar power in Utah has the capacity to provide almost a third of all electricity used in the United States. Utah is one of the seven US states with the best potential for solar power, along with California, Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado, and Texas.[1] Utah allows net metering for residential systems up to 25 kW and up to 2 MW for non-residential users.[2] Utah's renewable portfolio standard can best be described as a goal and calls for obtaining 20% of electricity from renewable sources by 2025 - if it is cost effective.[3]

By 2011, with the 30% federal tax credit, prices have decreased to the point that they provide an attractive return on investment.[4] Utah allows up to 25% $2,000 tax credit for residential systems and up to 10% $50,000 credit for commercial systems.[5]

  • Policies and Incentives
  • Utah Solar Energy Association

External links

See also

  1. ^ Southwest Solar Energy Potential pg. 33
  2. ^ Utah Net Metering
  3. ^ Renewables Portfolio Goal
  4. ^ Sun has come up on solar power, Utah homeowner says
  5. ^ Renewable Energy: Incentives
  6. ^ The City of St. George Net Metering Policy Overview
  7. ^ Utah Solar Incentive Program
  8. ^ Solar 101
  9. ^ Innovation in Concentrating Thermal Solar Power (CSP)
  10. ^ How a Smarter Grid Can Prevent Blackouts—and Cut Your Energy Bills
  11. ^ We must cut demand to have any hope of solving the energy crisis
  12. ^ Bella Energy completes largest solar array in Utah
  13. ^ Solar Energy Development PEIS
  14. ^ Escalante Valley
  15. ^ Milford Flats South
  16. ^ Wah Wah Valley
  17. ^
  18. ^
  19. ^
  20. ^
  21. ^
  22. ^
  23. ^
  24. ^
  25. ^
  26. ^
  27. ^
  28. ^
  29. ^
  30. ^
  31. ^
  32. ^
  33. ^
  34. ^
  35. ^
  36. ^
  37. ^
  38. ^
  39. ^
  40. ^
  41. ^
  42. ^
  43. ^
  44. ^
  45. ^
  46. ^ Google Backs Utah’s Largest Solar Power Plant, Wall Street Journal, January 6, 2015
  47. ^
  48. ^
  49. ^
  50. ^ Google Makes Two More Solar, Wind Investments, Forbes, January 19, 2015
  51. ^
  52. ^


Utah’s Solar market is gaining momentum. With many companies across the state more Utahns than ever are investing in solar. Vivint Solar, a Utah-based company, recently went public on October 1, 2014.

Solar Companies in Utah

Republicans vs. Democrats In the research, the republicans agree the natural gas should be the new most emphasis domestic energy but Democrats thought solar power should be that. (78% vs. 87%). Republicans are also much more supportive than Democrats of coal (51% vs. 21%).

According the same study, 76% of Americans think that the United States should put a greater emphasis on domestic solar energy production. While views varied regionally about which types of domestic energy should be prioritized, solar powered was the of the greatest importance in every region.

The majority of Utahans support making large-scale solar development in desert, according to the 2013 Gallup study “Americans want more Emphasis on Solar, Wind, Natural Gas”.[52]

Public Opinion

Scatec Solar will be building the largest photovoltaic project in Utah to be completed in 2015. The project will take advantage of the abundant sunshine, cool higher elevation and private land close to an existing Rocky Mountain Power substation. Google and Prudential Capital are investors in the project.[46] Building will take place in two phases, with completion scheduled for December 2015.[47] Total costs of completion are estimated at $500 million.[48] Construction is anticipated to create appropriately 120 to 200 jobs, of which 80% will be local. When complete, the 625 acre solar farm will produce 100 megawatts of electricity.[49] The 325,000 modules are expected to produce 210 million kilowatt hours of electricity each year. [50] Additionally, the project involves plans to built a visitor center to educate the public on solar energy production and provide in-depth explanation of photovoltaic cells.[51]

Red Hills Renewable Energy Park

SunSmart is a project in community solar farm. The purchaser is not required to set anything up and there is no maintenance making it a simple risk free investment.[44] With this program, participants pay $2.95 more per month for each 100kWh block of power, a cost increase from $.0671/kWh to $.0966/kWh. These payments help cover the building costs of renewable energy sources, which are typically greater than traditional, carbon-based sources of power. The revenue from this program will allow further development and research for other renewable sources [45]

SunSmart Solar Farm

At a cost of $1.4 million, the Utah Olympic Oval Solar Project is largest solar project to date of the Utah state Division of Construction and Facilities Management and is expected to pay for itself in five years and end up saving $3.7 million over its 20-year life.[43]

The Utah Olympic Oval plans to install more than 3,000 solar panels above parking stalls that will generate some of the power needed to operate the facility. Current project estimates predict the addition of solar panels to save the facility $100,000 of its $750,000 monthly power costs.

Utah Olympic Oval

Utah Olympic Oval Solar Project

The project’s planned interconnection point is the IPP switchyard which is a point of delivery for the Los Angeles, Anaheim, Riverside, Pasadena, Glendale and Burbank utilities. The switchyard connects to the Southern Transmission System (STS) the 500 HVDC line (Path 27) that travels 488 miles directly to a switchyard in Adelanto, Ca (see map ). LADWP is a California Balancing Authority and operates the switchyard which makes this project as though it is on California soil for the state Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS).

Energy Capital Group, LLC (ECG) is developing ECG Utah Solar 1, LLC an 300 MW-AC PV solar plant strategically sited to utilize existing interstate transmission infrastructure on 1754 acres leased from the Utah School and Institutional Trust Lands (SITLA) less than one mile from the Intermountain Power Project (IPP) north of Delta, Utah.

Planned Projects

After a ranking of 34th in the nation, Utah has taken greater steps to produce green jobs within the state. The creation of Internmountain Weatherization Training center in Clearfield, Utah has trained thousands of new workers for green jobs throughout the state; including certified solar installation.[38][39] The goal of the 14,000 square-feet facility is to use hands on training with state of the art equipment to train workers in accordance to the U.S. Department of Energy guidelines for home energy professionals.[40] The Intermountain Weatherization Center (IWC) is funded from private contributions, donations, grants, fees, any money appropriated by the Legislature.[41][42]

Training Efforts

A total of 33,000 cubic yards of concrete and 6.8 million pounds of reinforcing steel were used in the construction of the building. Concrete used features high fly ash content. Local, renewably sourced stone and copper were also utilized in construction.[37]

Officially dedicated in 2012, the James L. Sorenson Molecular Biotechnology Building is part of a four building quadrangle. The 208,000 square feet building features a transparent design, enabling natural light to enter 75% of the interiors. Built to LEED Gold certification standards, the facility will reduce energy and use costs by nearly 40%. Sustainable features include multistage bioswales, incorporated in the landscaping, collect and filter surface runoff.

Sorenson Molecular Biotechnology Building

Sorenson Molecular Biotechnology Building

Construction spending for USTAR research facilities has had the largest economic impacts to the state, supporting an average of 801 jobs annually and generated $143.2 million in Utah jobs earnings. Both facilities, the BioInnovations Center at Utah State University and the Sorenson Molecular Biotechnology Building at the University of Utah are LEED Gold certified.


Fiscal Year Jobs Earnings Gross State Product State Tax Revenue Local Tax Revenue
2007 81 $2,875,439 $5,325,218 $251,543 $42,987
2008 380 $14,135,998 $26,906,145 $1,236,617 $211,334
2009 1247 $46,434,837 $83,636,815 $4,062,119 $694,200
2010 2822 $103,467,769 $176,305,186 $9,051,361 $1,546,842
2011 2930 $109,051,162 $191,973,226 $9,609,852 $1,642,287
Totals N/A $275,965,205 $484,146,590 $24,181,492 $4,137,650

[36] at the University of UtahDavid Eccles School of BusinessFrom fiscal years 2007 through 2011, USTAR generated more than $700 million in jobs-related earnings, gross state product, state tax revenue and local tax revenue, as outlined in the table below from 2012 report by the Bureau of Economic and Business Research at the

Economic Impacts

Included in this appropriation is funding for alternative and renewable energy research, including catalysis and solar technologies.[33] Resulting new bioengineering companies include Binergy Scientific,[34] Nanosynth Materials and Sensors, and Nanosynth Energy Technologies.[35]

The passage of Utah State Bill 75 in 2006, allocated $179 million to the USTAR Economic Development Initiative, $15 million in ongoing annual funding to research teams at the University of Utah and Utah State University and $160 million towards the construction of new research facilities.[32]

Utah Science Technology and Research Initiative (USTAR)

Voluntary solar easements may be created by property owners to protect long-term access to sunlight. Easements must be “created in writing and shall be filed, duly recorded and indexed in the office of the recorder of the county in which the easement is granted” Bill .[31]

Solar Easements

Under Utah Code, Title 10, Chapter 9a, Section 610, provides land use authorities the power to refuse approval or renewal of Homeowner association or other Private Covenants that prohibit “reasonably sited and designed solar collectors, clotheslines, or other energy devices based”.[30]Bill

Utah’s Solar Access Law

Utah's solar easement provisions are similar to those in other states, in that parties may voluntarily enter into written contracts, enforceable by law that once created run with the land.[28] However, The Utah Public Service Commission plans to execute a cost-benefit analysis of consumer produced electricity and it's effects on the current electrical system. This study may set national precedent, as no state's regulatory agency has conducted a full-scale examination of net-metered solar power.[29] Utah also provides a nonrefundable and refundable tax credit for qualifying solar projects. .

State Legislation

According to Utah Governor Herbert's 10-Year Strategic Energy Plan, 72% of crude oil used in transportation, comes from out of state sources; pursuance of clean technology for nontraditional fuels is "critical to [Utah's] economy, air quality and quality of life".

Solar energy production via residential net-metering has increased steadily since 2008. From 2008 to 2009, the number of households participating in the program grew fivefold, placing Utah 18th, in the country.[27]

Utah's energy resource consumption consists of both fossils fuels and renewable resources. In 2009, residents, business and industries combined, consumed approximately 27,411 gigawatt-hours (GWh) of electricity; 0.01% of which was solar generated. Of the total energy produced in 2009, 1090 trillion Btus, 0.1% was solar generated.[26]

Usage and Production

Rocky Mountain Power, subsidy of PacifiCorp and utility provider for the state of Utah, offers incentives between $0.60 and $1.25 per watt generated by participants in Net metering.[25]

The Salt Lake Tribune reports that about 2,700 customers of Rocky Mountain Power have solar arrays as of May 2014; a number that is growing by 30% a year.[24]

Residential Use of Solar Arrays

Photovoltaics (MWp)[17][18][19][20][21][22][23]
Year Total Installed % Change
2007 0.2
2008 0.2 0
2009 0.6 0.4 200
2010 2.1 1.4 250
2011 4.4 2.3 110
2012 10.0 5.6 127
2013 16.0 6.0 60


  • Escalante Valley - 6,533 acres (26.4 km²) 588 - 1,058 MW [14]
  • Milford Flats South - 6,252 acres (25.3 km²) 576 - 1,037 MW [15]
  • Wah Wah Valley 5,873 acres (23.8 km²) 542 - 976 MW [16]

On April 20, 2012, the Bureau of Land Management identified 17 "Solar Energy Zones" with the best potential for priority solar development. Three of those are in Utah. In addition to the Solar Energy Zones, an additional 18,098,040 acres is available in Utah for solar application permits from the BLM, plus 1,962,671 acres with a variance.[13]

Solar Energy Zones


  • Solar Energy Zones 1
  • Photovoltaics 2
    • Residential Use of Solar Arrays 2.1
  • Usage and Production 3
  • State Legislation 4
    • Utah’s Solar Access Law 4.1
    • Solar Easements 4.2
  • Utah Science Technology and Research Initiative (USTAR) 5
    • Economic Impacts 5.1
    • Construction 5.2
      • Sorenson Molecular Biotechnology Building 5.2.1
  • Training Efforts 6
  • Planned Projects 7
    • Utah Olympic Oval Solar Project 7.1
    • SunSmart Solar Farm 7.2
    • Red Hills Renewable Energy Park 7.3
  • Public Opinion 8
  • Solar Companies in Utah 9
  • References 10
  • See also 11
  • External links 12

On May 24, 2012, Utah's largest solar array at the time was completed, the 1.65 MW array on the roof of the Salt Palace Convention Center in Salt Lake City.[12]

Utah has the potential to generate 1,500,000 GWh/year from 826 GW of concentrated solar power (CSP) plants using 6,371 square miles - about 7.5% of the state.[8] CSP has the advantage over photovoltaics of integrating storage for up to a day, allowing 24 hour operation, and allowing the hourly output to track demand, with the balance stored as heat.[9] CSP is not able to compensate for seasonal changes, although in the southwest peak demand correlates with peak solar output, due to air conditioning loads. That is not the case for northern climates, where peak demand occurs in winter.[10][11]

[7] of $1.55/watt (AC) has been fully subscribed for 2012.Rocky Mountain Power A similar offer from [6]

This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Project Gutenberg are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.