University of Utah launches community solar program

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  • Sensible Scientist Rexburg, ID
    April 23, 2014 8:44 a.m.

    Talk about first-world problems! Putting solar panels on a house in northern Utah is like buying a Mercedes-Benz just in case your Jaguar goes on the fritz -- it's redundant, expensive, and inefficient. We are already paying for power sources in the West, largely hydro, coal, and natural gas. Adding another that's not needed is a luxury few can afford. Solar panels are very inefficient outside the desert Southwest. Their manufacturing process is quite toxic, and they contain toxic Cadmium that cannot go into landfills. Then there are the problems of night, snow, fog, clouds, dust, and best of all, hail.

    If we really wanted to be clean with our electricity, we would build nuclear power plants. They are the ONLY clean, renewable source that is large enough to handle the growing demand for electricity. Solar panels are just a rich man's toy that is incapable of addressing the world's power needs.

  • Danish American Payson, UT
    April 23, 2014 8:42 a.m.

    We have something like 5 million years of reserves of oil and gas in the United States. And just saying that we are using it faster than it is being renewed doesn't make it so--prove it with verifiable figures. I have seen no studies that address this issue because no one can say when the earth stopped making oil and gas or at what rate it is producing it. It is still the most reliable source of energy and produces more energy per dollar than wind, solar, or water.

  • procuradorfiscal Tooele, UT
    April 22, 2014 9:44 p.m.

    Re: "The money raised by the student-approved renewable energy fee is not going to pay for solar panels on private residences."

    Uh, you might want to re-read the article. And look at the headline picture.

    "'This program makes it easier and more affordable for people to power their homes with solar energy,' said Myron Willson, director of the U.’s Sustainability Resource Center."

    Sounds to me like the U is filching money from students to pay for solar panels on private residences.

  • ManInTheMiddle SANDY, UT
    April 22, 2014 7:45 p.m.

    I did not go to "The U" - can I still participate?
    My tax dollars subsidize the school though right?? So does that make me part of the "campus community?"

  • mcdugall Murray, UT
    April 22, 2014 7:34 p.m.

    @Danish American - I did answer your question. Gas and Oil are not renewable. The definition of a renewable resource: a source of energy that is not depleted by use, such as water, wind, or solar power.

  • dave4197 Redding, CA
    April 22, 2014 7:30 p.m.

    The rest of the world, outside a few posters above and Rocky Mtn Power, know that solar on rooftops is probably the best way to get electricity to our homes. But managers at RMP want to keep their monopoly and unionized workers want to keep the status quo and don't want to change the generation, distribution, and transmission systems which they are paid to maintain. What we need are a few good elec engineers to develop better voltage controls and better switches between house and grid. Then we can make most of our elec power right at home and use it right at home. Of course we need a grid. Of course solar panels still need a subsidy for a while longer. Of course RMP should quietly pass the grid related new costs across all customers per kwh.

  • Baron Scarpia Logan, UT
    April 22, 2014 7:27 p.m.

    I was just reading in Bloomberg that Ukraine is racing to develop its renewable energy sources as a hedge against Putin and his control of all the natural gas used in the Ukraine for heat and electricity. The more renewables they can develop, the less natural gas they'll have to buy from their now arch enemy.

    Interestingly, while it can take years to build a natural gas plant, solar can be installed very quickly, so the race to curb natural gas from Russia isn't as far-fetched a problem as it sounds.

    I can't understand why people oppose America's development of its own domestic renewable energy sources and want to continue America's dependency on fossil fuels. "Keep Saudi Arabia Strong" they say!

    Too many Utahns want to be "keepers of the flame" on fossil fuels when other red states, such as Texas, Iowa, South Dakota, Kansas, etc., are all racing to develop wind and solar to bolster their rural economies. What do their GOP policymakers know that ours don't?

  • sg newhall, CA
    April 22, 2014 7:09 p.m.

    solar power for homes should be free period. The billions that this government just throws away to countries that hate us; to muslims that want to kill us is ridiculous. Let's use this money to retrofit every home with solar panels and frankly cut into the profits of our power companies that are beginning to gauge us consumers by raising rates almost at will. Giving incentives are nice and like giving freebies to illegals, but it sure doesn't eliminate more costs. Besides, the sun is for all of us; the technology was created for our benefits so why not have the government foot the bills 100% (the money is ours); maybe its about time we cut the salaries of our representatives who haven't done much for any of us in a long time. Case in point, they ignored The Constitution and let an ineligible man to become president and look what he is doing to our country.

  • chubbymagoo Salt Lake City, UT
    April 22, 2014 5:35 p.m.

    @ Danish American: The fact that we are mining oil and gas out of the earth at an astronimically faster rate than the earth can produce it makes it a non-renewable fuel source. There is a finite amount of the stuff.

  • Danish American Payson, UT
    April 22, 2014 4:00 p.m.

    @mcdugall: You didn't answer the question. Is the earth still producing oil & gas? When did the conditions change so it stopped making them. If environmentalists can't show pinpoint those factors then they must consider oil & gas renewable.

  • mcdugall Murray, UT
    April 22, 2014 3:19 p.m.

    @Danish American - I would not consider oil and gas renewable when the lifecycle of those resources are measured in millions of years. Thank you for the good laugh though.

  • mcdugall Murray, UT
    April 22, 2014 3:16 p.m.

    @procuradorfiscal- The money raised by the student-approved renewable energy fee is not going to pay for solar panels on private residences.

  • procuradorfiscal Tooele, UT
    April 22, 2014 2:22 p.m.

    Re: "'We’re happy to use the funds for this . . . .' said Sam Ortiz . . . ."

    No doubt. He must be a government major.

    I'd like to know what provision of law permits the U to filch a dollar from each student and apply it to buying solar panels for professors and other academic elites.

  • Danish American Payson, UT
    April 22, 2014 12:36 p.m.

    Can anyone out there tell me when the earth stopped producing oil & gas. Seems to me that if you can't tell when the earth stopped producing it that it too is a renewable energy source.

  • Yanquetino Ivins, UT
    April 22, 2014 12:10 p.m.

    Way to go, U of U and Kate Bowman! This will garner more support among conscientious Utahns to reject Rocky Mountain Power's proposed penalty surcharge for solar homeowners.