Highlights

  • Assessed the net benefits and costs of solar PV energy through a robust and neutral Net Energy Metering analysis.
  • Developed a 10-year Solar Deployment Plan that creates a clear path to faster, easier, and cheaper solar deployment in Utah.
  • Integrated solar energy into emergency preparedness planning.
  • Refined guidelines and conducted educational outreach for a replicable Commercial Property Assessed Clean Energy (C-PACE) program in Utah.

Background

The Wasatch Solar Project, an initiative of the Salt Lake City Corporation, addressed major barriers to solar and developed actionable strategies to propel Utah’s nascent solar market toward a cumulative capacity of 1,075MW of solar PV by 2024. Though Utah has some of the most plentiful solar resources in the nation, the solar PV market is still developing. Utah’s rapidly growing population, paired with its strong solar potential, yields tremendous opportunity for solar development in the state.

Utah’s cumulative solar capacity has drastically increased since 2009, thanks to the collaboration of Salt Lake City Corporation, Utah Clean Energy, and other active leaders and jurisdictions in the state. Since 2005, these partners have successfully completed numerous solar projects—funded by the U.S. Department of Energy SunShot Initiative—to spur solar market growth. And in 2016, Utah became the second in the nation for installed capacity.

Through the Wasatch Solar Project’s collaborative stakeholder process, new partnerships are being built to ensure the continued success of solar development in Utah.

State Solar Market Preparedness

The project team, along with a broad set of stakeholders—including key decision makers from the solar industry; local and state government officials; business and community leaders; and utility, regulatory, construction, and finance representatives—set out to create a path for continued solar price reductions, increased market penetration, and improved market certainty for Utah’s solar industry and consumers. To establish this path, the project team created a comprehensive long-term solar deployment strategy for the state, conducted a net metering cost and benefit analysis of rooftop solar, accelerated a replicable C-PACE financing program, and integrated solar into emergency preparedness planning for healthcare facilities.

Commercial Property Assessed Clean Energy Financing in Utah

Case study:
Hunt Electric Solar Carport Study Hunt Electric Solar Carport Study
Author:  Utah Clean Energy

This case study highlights Utah’s first C-PACE pilot, the Hunt Electric Solar Project, a 72 module 23KW solar canopy, microgrid, and electric vehicle charging station completed in 2015.

The Wasatch Solar Project Team introduced C-PACE financing to Utah in 2015. The team released final program guidelines and partnered with the Utah Governor’s Office of Energy Development (OED) to begin offering the financing program to businesses across Utah.

The Wasatch Solar team and OED worked with lenders, law firms, and local municipalities to create a robust framework to give interested businesses access to C-PACE financing for building upgrade projects. Utah’s first C-PACE pilot, the Hunt Electric Solar Project, was completed on October 2015 and includes a 72 module 23KW solar canopy, micro grid, and electric vehicle charging station at Hunt Electric Inc.’s West Valley City headquarters. The OED is now accepting applications from potential C-PACE projects, from municipalities interested in offering C-PACE, and from companies seeking to become approved C-PACE contractors.

Net Metering Cost-Benefit Analysis

Spring 2015 marked the beginning of a Utah Public Service Commission-led effort to develop a framework for assessing the costs and benefits of net metering in Utah. The Wasatch Solar team participated in a series of technical working groups organized by the Utah Public Service Commission and engaged technical experts to present to the group. Working group members included local government officials, energy users, utility representatives, nongovernmental organizations, and solar industry professionals. The technical working groups addressed topics related to net metering, including:

  • The impacts of distributed solar on the distribution system
  • Differences between utility-scale solar and distributed solar
  • Cost and benefit categories attributed to net metering
  • How existing demand side management tests can be applied to evaluate net metering
  • Various types of rate design

The team presented the working group’s technical recommendations and evidence regarding an analytical framework for assessing the costs and benefits of net metering to the Utah Public Service Commission.

Integrating Solar into Emergency Preparedness

Tool:
Integrating Solar into Emergency Preparedness Integrating Solar into Emergency Preparedness
Author:  Utah Clean Energy

Essential information about solar and storage and how it can enhance resiliency.

The Wasatch Solar Project also investigated the potential for integrating solar+storage into emergency planning statewide. As part of this effort, the project team worked with a local healthcare facility to determine the feasibility of integrating solar+storage into the facility’s emergency management plans, with the ultimate goal of installing a battery storage system as a companion measure to existing back-up energy resources.

The Wasatch Solar Project Team hosted a workshop for the Private Sector Preparedness Council—which increases disaster resilience by helping businesses plan for emergencies—to discuss the benefits of integrating solar in emergency planning. Representatives from Utah businesses learned about on-site solar installations and the potential for microgrids and solar+storage to increase their resilience in the event of a disaster.

Ten Year Solar Deployment Plan

Tool:
A Bright Future: A 10 Year Solar Deployment Plan for Utah A Bright Future: A 10 Year Solar Deployment Plan for Utah
Author:  Utah Clean Energy

A plan to grow Utah’s solar market focused on five key areas: Solar Markets & Access, Permitting, Interconnection, Utility Regulatory Models and Solar, Storage, and Resiliency.

In 2017, the project team released the 10-Year Solar Deployment Plan for Utah, providing a clear path to overcoming challenges and guiding the development of a sustainable and robust solar market. To develop the plan, the project team engaged numerous stakeholders representing all facets of the clean energy industry—including solar companies, utilities, and local and state government representatives—through workshops and one-on-one meetings. The plan highlights issues, solutions, and resources for five key areas: solar markets and access; permitting; interconnection; utility regulatory models; and solar, storage, and resilience.