80 MW solar project set to meet 80% of Salt Lake city’s municipal electric needs


By 2023, Salt Lake City’s municipal government will be 80% powered by renewable energy, when D.E. Shaw Renewable Investments’ 80 MW Elektron Solar project achieves commercial operation.

The project is set to be constructed by D.E. Shaw Renewable Investments in Tooele County, just west of Salt Lake City, on land leased from the State of Utah’s School and Institutional Trust Lands Administration. Salt Lake City’s municipal government is one of three local governments and six total customers purchasing the electricity generated. The other customers include the Park City municipal government, the Summit County municipal government, Utah Valley University and two ski resorts: Deer Valley Resort and Park City Mountain.

The project was originally developed and permitted by ERE, a joint venture among affiliates of Enyo and MAP Energy. The project is expected to support 100 full-time jobs throughout the course of construction. Construction began on the project in October, and it has not yet been specified when in 2023 it will commence operation.

Elektron Solar was selected through a Rocky Mountain Power request for proposals, organized by the six customers previously listed. This process was initiated under Utah’s Schedule 34 Renewable Energy Tariff, which allows large Rocky Mountain Power customers to work through the utility to source renewable energy to meet each organizations’ clean energy goals and power needs.

The state of Utah is no stranger to large utility-scale solar development, as the Solar Energy Industries Association outlines that the majority of the state’s nearly 2.5 GW of installed solar to date have come from such installations.

Image: SEIA

In October 2020, the Utah Public Service Commission made a decision on the value of the rooftop solar in the state, lowering the net metering export rate from the average of 9.2¢/kWh, instead to summer and winter rates of 5.969 cents/kWh  and 5.639 cents/kWh respectively. This decision seems to have stalled the state’s already niche rooftop solar industry.

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