SALT LAKE CITY (September 2010) - Salt Lake County, owner of the Salt Palace Convention Center, recently announced a project guaranteed to set a new standard for hosting sustainable meetings and conventions: the installation of the nation's largest rooftop solar array atop the Salt Palace Convention Center in the heart of downtown Salt Lake, scheduled to be completed and online by January 2011.
The 600,000 square-foot project ─ larger than six football fields, including 11,319 solar panels ─ will more than double the current solar capacity of the state of Utah and generate approximately 25 percent of the annual energy consumed at the Salt Palace Convention Center, and re-defines what it means to hold a "green meeting" in Salt Lake. Salt Lake County is also installing additional energy efficient equipment in the Salt Palace that will result in utility savings of more than $175,000 annually.
"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 the Salt Lake Convention & Visitors Bureau. "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."
Due to Utah's 300-plus average annual days of sunshine, its favorable climate and the fact that Salt Lake's 4,500-foot elevation means less atmosphere to diffuse the power of the sun, the Salt Palace solar project is sure to pay great dividends immediately and over the years, leveraging Salt Lake's ‘bright' future for both the citizens of Salt Lake and visitors to Utah's capitol city.
Salt Lake's solar project is a public-private partnership utilizing Utah's recently passed House Bill 145 which enables innovative third-party financing options for government entities and certain non-profit entities, thus reducing the up-front cost barrier to solar energy development.
The Salt Lake Convention & Visitors Bureau is a private, non-profit corporation responsible for the promotion of Salt Lake as a convention and travel destination. Its mission is to improve the area economy by attracting and providing support to conventions, leisure travelers and visitors. Salt Lake, a unique fusion of metropolitan city and quaint mountain town, is leading the way in sustainability for meetings as well as development. The towering Wasatch Mountains embracing Salt Lake offer a dramatic backdrop to the vibrancy and activities of downtown.