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Rooftop Solar Panels Turn on the Salt Palace

Published: 05/24/2012

Contact: Jim Braden, 385-468-7003, Salt Lake County Mayor's Office

Salt Palace Solar Panels_credit Bella EnergyUtah’s largest rooftop solar powered electric system is operational. The 1.65MW system atop the Calvin L. Rampton Salt Palace Convention Center was turned on today by Salt Lake County and its project partners. It’s one of the largest roof-top solar panel installations in the United States.

The 600,000 square-foot system was assembled at the Convention Center and will provide 17% of the its annual power needs.

County Mayor Peter Corroon has set a goal of installing up to 10 megawatts of solar power on county-owned facilities. He encourages all sectors of the community to be involved in solar projects to generate clean energy across the Salt Lake Valley. Nine county facilities currently use solar to help power electrical needs.

“This solar project boosts the county’s clean energy goals while benefiting our pocketbooks,” said Mayor Corroon. “Together, we can make solar an integral part of our bright, prosperous and resilient energy future.”

The project is a public-private partnership, and will utilize a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) financing model. Salt Lake County partnered with Bella Energy to build the system, and CarbonFree Technology to own, operate and maintain the system, providing power to the county at a fixed rate.

The National Development Council (NDC), a New York based 501c3, directed the complex financing structure which employed public and private capital, federal grants, federal tax credits and public/private subsidized bonds that work in concert through the federal stimulus package. “Salt Lake County has been a partner with NDC for the past four years and their creativity and diligence were essential in closing this transaction,” said Robert Davenport, NDC President.

“Chase was eager to help this project go from concept to reality through funding solutions that worked best for the County,” said Craig Zollinger, President and CEO JPMorgan Chase in Utah. “Our employees and customers can feel proud of the role we played in this landmark system.”

The solar installation is also designed to lure convention and business meetings to Salt Lake. “This project reflects Salt Lake County’s commitment to the natural environment that makes Salt Lake such a spectacular destination and shows its strong commitment to the convention industry in Utah,” said Scott Beck, President & CEO of Visit Salt Lake. “A project of this scope and scale, combined with our current commitment to sustainable practices, helps move Salt Lake well down the path of being one of the nation’s top locations for sustainable conventions and meetings.”

The support of Utah’s congressional delegation led to federal funding for the project. "This project will make an important contribution to Utah’s renewable energy portfolio,” said Rep. Jim Matheson. “It’s the start of a transition toward energy independence.”

“I am so proud of the completion of this important project that will save money, generate clean energy, and serve as an example of the solar possibilities in Utah,” added Mayor Corroon.

Salt Lake County Solar Installations
Salt Palace (25kw system + 1.65MW rooftop)
Clark Planetarium (25kw)
Public Works (21kw)
Herriman Library (5kw)
Magna Library (14kw)
Millcreek Community Center (24kw)
Riverton Senior Center (12kw)
Environmental Health (5kw)
West Jordan Library (53kw)

View a time lapse video of the Salt Palace rooftop installation here.
View pictures of the press conference here.