It’s Getting Hot in Here: Utah Strides for Sustainability through Solar Energy

row of houses using solar panels

Climate change is no longer a threat; it’s a reality. States all over the U.S. are feeling its effects. Utah, specifically, is suffering major consequences of the world’s collective disregard of the environment. One of the state’s most pressing concerns today is its rising temperature, an obvious manifestation of global warming. Over the past 48 years, Utah’s temperature has risen by 3.02 degrees, placing fifth among America’s fastest-warming states.

Utah’s Solar Energy Initiatives

The entire state is strengthening its environmental projects, starting with a transition to 100 percent clean energy. Utah’s geographic landscape makes it easier for the state to collect wind and solar energy. The U.S. Secretary of Energy Rick Perry and Governor of Utah Gary Herbert announced what they named as the largest and most ambitious energy storage system in the world yet, the Utah Advanced Clean Energy Storage Project. This project will store about 1000 megawatt-hours (MWh) of energy from wind power installations and solar power plants. This is enough to provide energy to 150,000 homes, about 21 percent of the total households in Utah.

Cities all over the state are also spearheading their own green initiatives. Park City led the stride in March 2016 when it announced a resolution to shift to renewable sources by 2032. Salt Lake City, Moab, Summit County, and Salt Lake suburbs followed suit throughout 2016 and 2017, announcing their own commitment to sustainable energy.

Salt Lake City is one of the cities that shows the most promise in terms of environmental efforts. It placed eleventh in Environment America’s nationwide list of the top U.S. cities for solar energy. The list looks at the total megawatts of solar energy used per capita.

Solar energy usage grew exponentially in Salt Lake City. Utah’s capital city has seen the number of sustainability projects grow from forty in 2009 to 677 in 2017. According to the Salt Lake City Department of Sustainability, the 645 of these projects are residential and 32 are commercial, generating 7,278.68 kilowatts of solar energy.

Harness the Sun’s Power at Home

close up shot of solar panels installed in the roof

You can join the fight against climate change, starting in your own home. But powering your house with solar energy involves more than just contacting SunPower dealers and solar panel installers. First, assess the energy efficiency of your house. A home energy audit can help you identify how and where your home is losing energy, and the steps you can take to remedy these spots.

Also, assess the solar potential of your location. Solar panels absorb both direct and scattered sunlight so make sure you place them in a spot that is not obscured by shade such as trees, roof, posts, and others. A solar installer can help you get an accurate calculation of your solar potential and give you comprehensive estimates, equipment expertise, and recommendations.

Utah’s slow but steady transition into a state that is kinder to the environment and more conscious of its carbon footprint will not be possible without the collaborative efforts of the local government, residents, and mega-corporations. Other states in the U.S. and cities all over the world can learn a thing or two from Utah’s display of commitment, so that they, too, can be part of the solution to climate change.


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