1 of 2
Mark Wetzel, Deseret News
Burton Lumber in Salt Lake City installed nearly 2,700 solar panels on its roof to help reduce energy costs. The company pays between $150,000 and $200,000 a year on energy bills at this facility. So far, energy costs have been reduced by 75 percent. The project cost about $2 million, and the company hopes to pay it off within the next four years.

SALT LAKE CITY — A Utah company has turned its unused roof space into a solar farm, and it’s reducing its energy cost and carbon footprint at the same time.

"When you look at your energy costs and they're so high, you wonder how you can move them the other way," said Jeff Burton, co-owner of Burton Lumber, a building material supply company.

Burton said the company was paying anywhere from $150,000 to $200,000 a year in energy costs at its Salt Lake City facility.

"This project is 642 kilowatts. It's about 2,700 solar panels," said Brok Thayn, energy department manager with Hunt Electric.

For more than 18 months, Hunt Electric designed and built the state's largest privately owned, roof-mounted solar array. It installed 2,676 solar modules on the 193,484-square-foot roof.

It will cost Burton Lumber $2 million, but the company expects to pay it off within the next four years.

"This system is 4.4 acres and offsets 75 percent of Burton Lumber's power bill," Thayn said.

The only problem the company has run into so far is snow. Employees have to clear the panels before they'll begin producing energy again.

"When a lumber yard can actually give back to the environment, because we are kind of known as the guys cutting trees down, when we can give back, that makes sense," Burton said.

Email: ddolan@deseretnews.com