Rocky Mountain Power’s Blue Sky program awarded up to $118,560 to SWATC to install a solar photovoltaic (PV) system on the roof of its main campus in order to promote and support renewable energy projects in Southern Utah. The project has a three-fold purpose, to reduce energy usage for the college, provide renewable energy training and raise community awareness of renewable energy options. The solar project will reduce the SWATC main campus building energy use by more than 15 percent each year while saving the building owner, Iron County School District, more than $4,500 each year.
The project’s success is due to the collaboration between Rocky Mountain Power’s Utah customers who choose Blue Sky renewable energy and SWATC students. Students evaluated the SWATC’s power bills, conducted a site analysis to determine the amount of solar energy available, and completed the initial design that was used to write the funding application. Funds for the solar project are made possible by the support of Rocky Mountain Power’s Blue Sky customers in Utah.
Rocky Mountain Power’s Blue Sky program provides customers with an easy and convenient way to support renewable energy in the region. When customers choose Blue Sky, Rocky Mountain Power purchases renewable energy certificates on their behalf from recently developed wind energy facilities in the western United States. This guarantees that electricity from these renewable resources is delivered to the regional power pool, reducing the need for non-renewable energy and creating measurable environmental benefits.
“We’re pleased that the Southwest Applied Technology College’s goal of having a solar energy system will soon be a reality thanks to the support of our 37,500 Blue Sky customers in Utah,” said Tom Heaton, Rocky Mountain Power customer and community manager. “In addition to the cost savings of using solar power to offset a portion of the college’s electricity use, this project will also provide a great learning tool to help students better understand how renewable energy technologies work.”
Once the solar PV array has been fully installed by Intermountain Wind and Solar, SWATC students participating in the renewable energy training courses will help maintain the system as well as learn how to use solar energy effectively in commercial, industrial and residential buildings.
Currently offered courses include Solar Fundamentals I & II, which focus on the design, installation, and maintenance of solar PV systems. Upcoming courses include Energy Management, which focuses on the efficient use of energy in commercial, industrial, and residential buildings. When finished with the renewable energy training, students will be eligible to take the North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP) PV entry level exam. “With additional real-world experience, the students will then be eligible to take the NABCEP PV Installation Professional Exam,” says Renewable Energy Instructor, Mark Florence.
The roof cutting ceremony for the Solar PV array system installation will take place on the roof of the Southwest Applied Technology College Thursday, August 8, 2013 at noon. The public is invited to attend and find out more about how SWATC intends to use the solar energy system to save the community money, train future students and advance the cause of renewable energy.
Funds from Blue Sky also come back to local communities. Since 2006, there have been 82 community-based renewable energy projects in Utah that Blue Sky customers have helped to make possible. Rocky Mountain Power customers who want to sign up for Blue Sky may call toll free at 800-769-3717 or visitwww.rockymountainpower.net/bluesky.