Summit Community Power Works launches solar program | ParkRecord.com

Summit Community Power Works launches solar program

Summit Community Power Works (SCPW), the nonprofit organization spearheading Summit County’s quest for the $5 million Georgetown University energy prize, is preparing to launch a solar program for Summit and Wasatch County residents.

As part of the organization’s initiative to reduce the community’s energy consumption and claim the prize, SCPW has partnered with Utah Clean Energy to administer the new program: Mountain Town Community Solar. The program is supported by Summit County, Vail Resort’s Epic Promise Program, Park City, and a citizen-led volunteer committee.

Organizers are hoping to install enough rooftop panels to generate a megawatt of energy in Summit and Wasatch counties before 2017, according to Mary Christa Smith, project manager for SCPW. An informational session about the program’s launch is scheduled at 6 p.m., on Monday, March 28, at the Jim Santy Auditorium, in Park City.

"We will be able to let people see the pricing and give them an overview of the process," Smith said. "People have lots of questions about solar opportunities and this is an opportunity to get those questions answered."

Mountain Town Community Solar will be available to all Summit and Wasatch County residents, Smith said. Those interested in participating can take a survey on the program’s website to evaluate the feasibility of installation at their homes beginning on Monday.

"Solar pricing is the lowest that Utah Clean Energy has seen," Smith said. "If people have been waiting, but are interested in solar, this is the year and time to do it because it is such a great price and will help us win the prize.

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"We are in fourth place right now and we really believe we can win because we are in great shape to do it," she said. "Installing a megawatt of solar will make an incredible dent in our consumption."

The new program is similar to one that was offered in 2013, Smith said. That year, 60 homeowners installed more than 300 kilowatts of rooftop solar in Summit County. Smith said she anticipates the program will be received just as well this time around.

"I think we are at this very sweet spot where the installation of solar has exploded and the prices have been brought down to some historic lows," Smith said. "This is the one question that people have been asking me from the beginning. I do believe that there is a pent up demand from the last time and we hope it will translate to approximately 200 homes."

A second informational meeting has been scheduled for East Side residents at 6 p.m., Tuesday, April 19 at South Summit Middle School, in Kamas. A meeting will also be held in Heber, but has not yet been scheduled.

"Everyone on our committee has had solar installed on their house. We are passionate about it and have a deep understanding of the process," Smith said. "For me as a customer to go out and decide which kind of panel and who the best installer is, it’s a lot of legwork. This makes it more streamlined and affordable for the customer. We have taken the guesswork out of the process."

Summit County is among 50 communities attempting to significantly reduce energy consumption throughout the next two years as part of the energy competition.

An informational session about the solar program is scheduled at 6 p.m., on Monday, March 28, at the Jim Santy Auditorium, in Park City. A second informational meeting has been scheduled for East Side residents at 6 p.m., Tuesday, April 19 at South Summit Middle School, in Kamas. For more information about Summit Community Power Works visit their website at http://scpw.org/ . To take the survey for the community solar program, go to http://mycommunitysolar.org/summit/ .

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