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Sustainable Power Group (“sPower”) has announced the installation and commissioning of solar power generation systems on the rooftops of the Natural History Museum of Utah and the HPER East Building at the University of Utah. The Natural History Museum’s system is a 330-kilowatt system and the HPER East system is a 263 kW system. The combined systems consist of 2,470 Sharp photovoltaic panels covering 40,000 square feet of rooftop space. The Sharp modules are American-made, manufactured in Memphis, Tennessee. sPower partnered with Okland Construction of Salt Lake City, Utah to build the systems, and McCalmont Engineering of Campbell, California to design and engineer the systems.
sPower will own and operate the systems for 20 years and will sell the power to the University of Utah under the terms of a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA). This third-party ownership arrangement was made possible due to a $125,000 Blue Sky Grant from Rocky Mountain Power, as well as a $1,000,000 grant awarded to the University through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.
“We are excited about this system for numerous reasons including the long-term direct financial benefits from solar energy, the duty that we feel to be good stewards of our planet, and the educational opportunities that this will offer our students. This project is consistent with our Energy and Environmental Stewardship Initiative: 2010 Climate Action Plan, wherein we set a goal to be carbon neutral by 2050,” said Dr. David Pershing, president of the University of Utah.
“We consider these projects to be a showcase of how a public entity and a private entity can work together to create sustainable energy while at the same time saving the University money. The University of Utah has truly made a significant investment in securing a long-term, clean and affordable energy source for the future,” said Ryan Creamer, CEO of sPower.
The EPA estimates that over the 20-year life of the system, the CO2 offset of the University’s new solar-energy system will be the equivalent of planting 28,368 tree seedlings or the amount of carbon sequestered by 2,360 acres of pine or fir forests.