Utah Breathes a Little Easier Thanks to Solar Energy

Utah’s scenic natural beauty is a national treasure and an engine of economic activity—the state’s bevy of parks and monuments and reputation as a destination for skiers and hikers helped draw more than 23 million visitors in 2012

But the state’s booming tourism industry—and the health of its citizens—have come under threat in the past several years by a stubborn air pollution problem. A unique combination of topography, mining activity and meteorological phenomena known as “inversions” have placed Salt Lake City among the ranks of the nation’s most polluted cities in recent years. Salt Lake County experienced 22 days in which pollution levels exceeded federal air quality standards last winter – a 21-day increase from the year before.

The state is responding to the challenge with plans to reduce emissions and pollution. SolarCity recently initiated its first commercial solar installations in Utah to support the state’s “all-of-the-above” approach to energy:

•  Last week, the Utah National Guard flipped the switch on clean energy, powering up 1,400 solar panels installed on top of the Guard’s headquarters. 
•  Salt Lake Community College’s 1,428 module rooftop solar installation is currently under construction.   
•  The Utah Olympic Oval announced its plans for a solar carport Monday. The installation has already begun, and the 3100+ solar panels are expected to cut nearly $100,000 off the Oval’s annual utility costs.

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Governor Gary Herbert and Major General Jeff Burton attended the ribbon cutting ceremony for the Utah National Guard’s 350kW solar panel system in Draper.

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The 800kW SLCC’s solar panel system, nearing completion.

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A rendering of the 791kW solar carport installation currently under construction at the Utah Olympic Oval.

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