A sunny outlook: City Hall plans its largest ever solar project
Thursday was a sunny day for the Park City Municipal Athletic & Recreation Center.
The Park City Council authorized a contract to install what will be the municipal government’s largest solar-power system. The Park Meadows facility’s roof will be outfitted with 755 solar panels, far more than any other municipal building in Park City. The system is expected to generate 300,000 kilowatt-hours of electricity each year.
Matt Abbott, the environmental project manager at City Hall, said the municipal government’s current solar-power systems involve a combined 438 panels generating a little less than 145,000 kilowatt-hours in a year. The systems are installed on the Marsac Building, the Park Avenue police station and the transit campus outside the Public Works Building.
Abbott said the system is expected to provide 20 percent of the electricity used at the Municipal Athletic & Recreation Center. It will save approximately $20,000 in electricity costs annually, he said.
The City Council unanimously approved a $424,499 contract with a Pinebrook firm called Alpenglow Solar for the installation. The elected officials did not speak extensively about the contract. City Councilman Andy Beerman mentioned the solar-power system makes a statement by City Hall.
Officials have aggressively pursued upgrades at municipal facilities as part of City Hall’s wide-ranging environmental efforts. Park City leaders want to cut the municipal government’s emissions, arguing that climate change may someday threaten the ski industry that is critical to the community’s economy.
Abbott said it is the first time City Hall has paid the full cost of a solar-power system with municipal funds. Officials secured grants from the federal government, Rocky Mountain Power or both to assist in previous installations, he said.
Josh Kordecki, one of the owners of Alpenglow Solar, said in an interview the installation will be "pretty straightforward." It is the first contract between the firm and City Hall.
Kordecki said Alpenglow Solar plans to begin installing the bases where the panels will be placed this fall. The solar panels themselves will be installed in the spring, he said. The contract has a June 5 deadline for completion. Kordecki said the solar-power system is expected to be operational in June.
"It shows our initiative as a community to support renewable energy," he said.
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A longtime Park City activist expressed worries that another Winter Olympics could exacerbate some of the issues the community as of today struggles to address. Rich Wyman’s comments were some of the only public statements in recent months addressing concerns about the efforts to stage a second Games.