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Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox and Salt Lake County Mayor Ben McAdams touted Salt Lake City-based Burton Lumber as their golden child when it comes to sustainability after the company finished the installation of the largest Utah-based, privately-owned, roof-mounted solar project in the state Wednesday.
Together, the lieutenant governor and county mayor “flipped the switch” on the project, turning on all 2,676 solar modules on the 193,484-square-foot roof, which is the equivalent of more than four acres of solar panels.
Burton Lumber teamed up with Salt Lake City-based Hunt Electric to design and install the solar panels. The modules will generate 642.2 kilowatts of electricity, which will take care of approximately 74 percent of Burton Lumber’s electricity bill.
“I’m grateful there are companies like Burton Lumber who are willing to lead out and set an example for the rest of the state,” Cox said. “This project is a showcase. We will be touting this everywhere we go. We’re going to be spreading the message about what Burton Lumber and Hunt Electric are doing to help Utah in a new and exciting way.”
Cox said the project lines up well with Gov. Gary Herbert’s 10-year Energy Plan, which states that “Utah will strive to lead our nation in the development of traditional, alternative and renewable energy resources.”
Burton Lumber is working closely with Rocky Mountain Power through the power company’s Utah Solar Incentive Program. The program is designed to provide Rocky Mountain Power customers with a rebate after installation for a portion of the initial cost of installing solar panel systems. Alene Bentley, customer and community manager at Rocky Mountain Power, said Burton Lumber will receive an incentive check for approximately $487,000 after the company “crosses some T’s and dots some I’s” to be eligible for the incentive.
Cox said because Utah is growing rapidly, energy costs will continue to rise due to supply and demand, but companies like Burton Lumber are helping to keep those costs down. “What Burton Lumber has done is forward thinking, both economically and environmentally,” he said.
McAdams agreed and said he understands the smart investment and great benefit of solar energy.
“This is an area we must focus some attention on,” he said. “We can no longer think of our buildings as just concrete and metal structures. A healthy building creates a healthy environment for people to work, play and learn. Burton Lumber obviously understands this. It’s not only a smart financial investment, but a business truly living up to their sustainability commitment.”