Amy Joi O’Donoghue – Deseret News
The University of Utah is becoming the first university in the country to sponsor a community solar program, offering discounted rooftop solar panels and installation for students and other university associated residents.
With its launch Tuesday, the U Solar Program offers enrollees a 25 percent discount on installation through Oct. 1 and is available in Salt Lake, Summit and Davis counties to university communities.
Kate Bowman, solar project coordinator with Utah Clean Energy, said the funding is a “Groupon” model for solar panels, based on the number of participants who sign on in a common geographic area during a specific window of time.
Community solar programs have a solid track record in Summit and Salt Lake counties. In Summit County, for example, the program resulted in the installation of five times more solar capacity than what was installed in the previous year.
Both community projects were initiatives led by Utah Clean Energy.
In Utah County, renewable energy enthusiasts took their cue from those programs and launched a similar effort through the Utah Valley Earth Forum. (…)