Features and Occasionals

Utility: Solar in the City

By Staff

Artspace Solar Gardens, 850 South 400 West, spans a city block on the west side of downtown Salt Lake City. This mixed use building has over 100 tenants and includes residential and commercial space. The residents of this building enjoy the benefit of not paying a monthly power bill.

In 2013 Sunlight Solar, a Utah-based solar installation company that installed the solar platforms along UTA’s airport light rail, and a highly skilled and experienced construction team was hired to design and build Utah’s first Mixed-Use Net Zero Building. (“Net zero” means it produces as much, or more, energy than it uses.) The design incorporates over 900 solar panels on the roof, carport and awnings. The result is a building that produces more energy than it consumes. On any given day, you can see the property’s electrical meter spinning backwards as the sun shines on the solar array. This gives the tenants peace of mind knowing that the power used to heat and cool their homes is being produced directly from the sun.

Because of space restraints on the roof, Sunlight Solar used top-of-the-line SunPower 435-watt solar panels that stand seven feet tall and operate at over 21% efficiency (which is very high for solar panels). This 338-kilowatt system uses a distributed inverter design with over 50 individual American-made inverters that are harvesting the sun’s energy and channeling it throughout the building and back into the grid.

This building serves as an example of what can be done when power generation is addressed during the design phase of construction. With careful planning, qualified personnel and an owner who truly cares about renewable energy the question is no longer “why solar?” but “why not solar?”

Artspace is a not-for-profit corporation that has provided affordable housing and commercial spaces for artists, nonprofits and small retailers for the past 34 years, focusing on revitalizing neighborhoods. Artspace Solar Gardens received the Most Outstanding Project of 2013 award from Utah Construction & Design Magazine for its sustainable features.

—Cammy Staker. Cammy is affiliated with Sunlight Solar.

Some Like it Hot: 9/27
Solar Day Salt Lake 2014
Saturday, September 27, Noon-6pm
Utah’s biggest day in the solar industry.
• Get your questions answered.
• 100% solar-powered live music
• Solar industry leaders
• Murray Park, 5100 S. State St.
More info at: SolarDaySaltLake.com, solar@xmission.com, 801.833.4865.

Sponsored by the Utah Interfaith Power & Light, Salt Lake Community College Green Academy, Green News Utah, Wells Fargo Bank and several solar contractors.


This article was originally published on August 30, 2014.