Rocky Mountain Power subsidizes new solar power installations through its Blue Sky program. But it’s also insisting it needs additional money from residential customers who have solar panels on their homes.
The Utah Public Service Commission is preparing for a hearing next week on Rocky Mountain Power’s request for residential solar power users to pay four dollars and 65 cents a month to connect their homes to the grid.
Salt Lake City officials flipped the “on” switch Wednesday celebrating the completion of three large solar projects to power city buildings. 1.7 million kilowatts of electricity annually will come from the solar farm connected to the Public Safety Building, and the city’s operation center at Plaza 349. Salt Lake Mayor Ralph Becker says Utah’s energy codes are 30 percent less efficient than federal standards and he says leaders at the state level need raise those standards.
University of Utah researches have developed a thin glass film that could boost the overall efficiency of solar cells to more than 50%. To achieve the increase in efficiency researches at the U have created a film that is five times thinner than a human hair. It can separate the broad-spectrum rays of sunlight into individual colors, sort of like a prism.
The Gadsby power plant in Salt Lake City is an example of the nation's transition from coal to natural gas. Environmental Policy Expert Ted Nordhaus said the shift is happening primarily because natural gas is cheap -- not because of Environmental Protection Agency regulations.
HEAL Utah says homeowners who install solar panels will be penalized if the Public Service Commission approves a new monthly fee that has been requested by Rocky Mountain Power. Meanwhile, the company says it needs to increase monthly fees, and add this new one, to pay its fixed costs.
An environmental group says it’s a bad idea to hike the cost of clean-energy investments that are good for the community. That’s why the group HEAL Utah is rallying against Rocky Mountain Power’s request to charge solar-panel owners a new fee. HEAL’s Matt Pacenza calls the $4.25-a-month charge a “solar penalty.”
Plans were announced Wednesday for the first utility-scale solar project by Rocky Mountain Power. The 9,000-panel solar farm in Utah will produce enough power to supply 500 homes. Paul Murphy is the company’s spokesperson. He says Rocky Mountain Power is responding to the trend of increased customer desire for renewable energy and tax incentives being offered to keep the initial company investment down.
TransWest Express LLC wants to build and operate an electricity transmission line. House Bill 44 would require TransWest to offer capacity on its line to Utah companies. Investor-owned TransWest says its too soon for contracts like that that and vows to sue if lawmakers pass the bill.
The countdown continues in our series on the Utah Priorities Project, the Utah State Board of Education selects a new Superintendent, and Rocky Mountain Power announces a plan to help encourage the use of solar panels.
Rocky Mountain Power plans to offer 50 million dollars of incentives for consumers and businesses who install solar power panels over the next five years. The Public Service Commission of Utah has approved the utility company’s request for a program that will support 60 Megawatts of new solar energy.