U Offers Discounted Solar Panels In Effort To Empower Families To Go Green


By Katie Buda

Clean Energy Utah and U Community Solar are offering a discount on solar panels to all university students, faculty, staff and alumni from March 15 through Sept. 30, 2016.

Clayton Johnson, clean energy project coordinator for Utah Clean Energy said they have a simple goal.

“We want to empower more Utah families with clean solar energy on their homes,” Johnson said.

In 2014, U Community Solar (UCS) provided panel installation to almost 400 households. Johnson said the program would save a combined $7.7 million over the next 25 years. The continued effort is to prevent over 100 million pounds of carbon dioxide emissions.

Johnson said outreach is maintained due to the streamlined installation process and the discount, made available by funding through ASUU’s Green Power Purchase Fund, which helps the U community access renewable energy.

Madeline Rogers, a senior in anthropology, finds that affordability is an essential piece in making efficiency more accessible.

“I’d never be able to afford full-price solar panels for my house — but I’ve always wanted them,” Rogers said. “Making it easier for people is so important because we need to do everything we can to slow the processes of global warming.”

Through a competitive process, the U selected Creative Energies as a solar installer based on quality of equipment and price.

An average-sized Utah home can prevent nearly 300,000 pounds of carbon dioxide emissions over 25 years by installing a 4.6-kilowatt system that provides 75 percent of electricity usage.

“These emission reductions really add up when the community comes together and installs solar together,” Clayton said.

To get students educated and involved, UCS will host workshops on the benefits and functions of the program. Students will have the opportunity to ask experts questions about going solar.

Clayton said after attending a workshop, U members can complete a survey on the UCS website to get the process started. The survey will assess whether a home is a good fit for solar while also providing a customized preliminary proposal.

Community members who are interested can sign up to attend a Solar Workshop and apply at MyCommunitySolar.org.

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