CAMP WILLIAMS —The power of the sun is turning into savings for the Utah National Guard and Utah’s taxpayers.
At the south end of Camp Williams, nearly 4,000 solar panels are generating about a quarter of the facility's energy needs.
“We believe in being good stewards of all of our resources,” said Brig. Gen. Dallen Atack, assistant adjutant general with the Utah National Guard. “This is an opportunity for us to become more green.”
The panels fulfill approximately 23 percent of Camp Williams’ power requirements with clean, more affordable solar energy and cutting electricity costs while offsetting carbon emission along the Wasatch Front.
"We are very proud of this, and all of our green energy projects," Adjutant General Maj. Gen. Jeff Burton said in a prepared statement. "We seek to be good stewards of our precious resources and will continue as an organization to seek innovative ways to conserve and reduce our footprint."
The panels should generate between 1.8 million and 2 million kWh annually. That's enough to power 160 average homes for a year.
The project is estimated to save just under $12 million over the next 20 years. In an era of tight military budgets, that savings will help train soldiers and airmen with the Guard.
"Our job, by the president, by Congress, is to go fight and win our nation's wars,” Atack said. “So, every dollar that we can have to train towards readiness going to do those federal missions is important to us."
This array is only a part of the 10 projects the Utah National Guard has put online across the state this year. The sun powers Guard installations in St. George, Blanding, and the headquarters in Draper.
A unique carport with solar panels for the Air National Guard complex in West Jordan is almost ready to go online.
"It encourages me to do a better job and look for ways to save energy,” said John Harrington, energy director for the division of facilities construction management.
Harrington said more than 90 percent of the $40 million price tag was paid for with grants sought out by the Guard. No state money was appropriated for this, he added.
"As we become more efficient to renewables, the tax burden goes down for the taxpayers, so it's a great benefit to the taxpayers of the state of Utah,” Harrington said.
This project wraps up this phase of renewable energy development for the Guard, but it is committed to aggressively pursue more projects in the future.