Summit County Health building gets 70 kW of solar |

Summit County Health building gets 70 kW of solar

Aaron Osowski, The Park Record

Summit County achieved another goal in its sustainability plan on Wednesday. A 70-kilowatt, 267-panel solar photovoltaic installation was unveiled at the county Health Department building at Quinn’s Junction.

The project, funded by a $217,000 grant from Rocky Mountain Power’s Blue Sky renewable energy program, was installed by Gardner Engineering. The 70 kW installation was done for less money than the originally planned 40 kW system, which allowed the county to create a solar-powered water fountain in front of the building.

Health Department Director Richard Bullough said the project was driven by the Summit County Council, who along with Sustainability Coordinator Lisa Yoder identified environmental stewardship as a strategic priority. He added this effort goes hand in hand with the Health Department’s goal of personal and environmental health.

Chad Ambrose, Customer and Community Manager for Rocky Mountain Power’s Blue Sky program, said the installation generates enough electricity to power nine homes for a year.

"When I think of the word ‘summit,’ I think of something beautiful, something in a great environment," Ambrose said. "When you get to the top of that summit, the view is outstanding and it requires preservation. Today is one of those summits for Summit County."

Summit County Manager Bob Jasper added the Health Department building, which also houses the People’s Health Clinic, is designed to capture the natural heat of the earth.

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The solar system is now on-line and the county says it will produce an average of 250 kilowatt hours (kWh) of electricity per day around 92,000 kWh a year. Jasper said the county expects to save roughly one-third of the building’s electricity costs over the next 25 years, preventing 1,795 metric tons of carbon dioxide-equivalent emissions.

"It’s always gratifying to see one of our strategic priorities come to fruition," said County Council chair Claudia McMullin.