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Salt Lake City — Work has begun on a new city-owned 3,000-panel solar farm on the west side of Salt Lake City. City officials and business representatives held a groundbreaking and media event for the project Tuesday.
The project was planned in conjunction with the new Salt Lake City Public Safety Building. The city wanted the building to be able to produce all its own power, but the building doesn’t have enough roof space to fit enough solar panels to produce all of its energy needs. Electricity produced at the new solar farm will be used to offset the energy at the public safety building.
“Solar energy has incredible benefits for us as a city and a region,” said Salt Lake City Mayor Ralph Becker. One of those benefits is a reduction in pollutant emissions, he said. The farm is expected to equal a reduction of about 1,036 tons of carbon annually.
The farm will be located on land that covers an old landfill. The spot is ideal, Becker said, because it makes use of land that can’t be used for buildings or almost any other purpose. The farm’s location next to I-215 will also allow it to function as an advertisement for solar power, as tens of thousands of cars pass it daily, said Art Anderson of Taylor Electric.
Vicki Bennett, director of Salt Lake City’s sustainability division, said the farm also makes sense fiscally for the city. The cost of solar energy has decreased significantly in recent years, and the city will be able to pay off the cost of the $3 million project within about 10 years, she said. And because the life expectancy of solar panels is about 25 years, the panels should be able to continue producing long after they’re paid for.
“The price of electricity is going to go up, and the price of this will stay the same,” said Bennett.
Salt Lake City company Taylor Electric will handle all aspects of the project, except for the panels, which will be provided and installed by Creative Energies, a Wyoming-based company with an office in Salt Lake City.
Facts about the new solar farm: