U Community Solar can help Summit residents | ParkRecord.com

U Community Solar can help Summit residents

David Burger, The Park Record

He wasn’t done.

Several years after Jörg Rügemer’s Summit Park home became what he called Utah’s most-efficient and cost-effective house, the University of Utah architecture professor is embarking on a plan to make the home as close to a net-zero energy building as possible.

After building a 2,400-square-foor home for his family, Rügemer is in the early stages of having solar panels affixed to his roof that will provide all of the electricity his family will need.

When that is achieved, the home, which now has a monthly heating and cooling bill of only $20, will be net-zero in consuming energy from the grid.

"For me, it’s just incredible," said Rügemer, who added that he looks forward to turning on his coffee maker in the morning using only energy captured through photovoltaics.

Rügemer, a native of Germany, is a participant in U Community Solar, a University of Utah-led program that is available to, according to Stephanie Dolmat-Connell, a senior research analyst with the U.’s Facilities Management:

  • all residents of Summit, Salt Lake and Davis Counties
  • who own their home
  • live in a grid-tiered residence

Participation in U Community Solar is available on a first-come, first-served basis through Oct. 1, 2014, said Dolmat-Connell, who is one of the organizers of the program. More than 90 people like Rügemer have taken the opportunity to participate.

"We are the first university in the nation to support something like this," said Dolmat-Connell.

The U.’s program is similar and is inspired by a successful Summit County Solar program in 2013, as well as a Salt Lake City program in 2012. U Community Solar provides, according to Dolmat-Connell:

  • a streamlined installation process for members of the community
  • a substantial discount on residential solar — about 25 percent for a typical installation, made possible through University facilitation of a supplier discount
  • pre-screened installers that are selected by the University based on quality and price

The deal for going solar gets even better for Summit County residents, as this year the Summit County Council has waived the solar photovoltaic building permit fee to encourage county residents to embrace renewable energy and energy efficiency.

A workshop for residents hoping to beat the deadline will be held at the University’s Union Theater at the A. Ray Olpin University Union (200 S. Central Campus Drive, Salt Lake City) on Sept. 10 from 4 to 5:30 p.m.

Visit http://www.mycommunitysolar.org/ucommunitysolar or call 801-903-4046 (extension 106) to learn more.

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