Solar Farm Could Help Park City Reach Net-Zero Carbon Emissions Goal
The Park City Council approved a project to build a large-scale solar energy farm. And barring any regulatory issues, the solar farm will be built by the end of this year and could be ready to use by 2022.
The project is part of a six party deal including both private and public entities, like Park City, Summit County, Park City Mountain and Deer Valley Resort.
The solar panels would provide 20-years of renewable energy to the parties involved with the project.
It would also fit into Park City’s goal of net-zero carbon emissions by 2022 for city operations, and an entirely carbon-free city by 2030.
Luke Cartin is Park City’s Environmental Sustainability Manager. He said electricity is a key piece to the city’s sustainability efforts.
“It's over half of our carbon footprint for the city," Cartin said. "And then also as you look at things as we electrify buses and that side of it, too, we'll be feeding it with clean renewables.”
Cartin said Park City will reach its sustainability goals through the solar project.
And he said there’s an economic incentive to the project.
“Sustainability is economic development. Park City within city limits spends $25 million a year on electricity," he said. "So if we go after energy efficiency, or lower risk renewables, that saves everyone from, operating a streetlight to workforce housing to the to the big resorts, that saves everyone dollars so it's going to this more carbon free future is actually an economic driver as well.”
He said officials haven't decided on the exact location for the solar farm, but it will be in a rural community. Cartin said the facility will create jobs and a tax base in the community.
“It's 10s of millions of dollars of investment into community," he said. "And then it also creates a dozen or so jobs, which people say it's not a big impact, but the great thing is those are jobs that are guaranteed for the life of the solar farms. And as that solar farm reaches the end of its life. All the infrastructure is already there. So you'll probably just go through and upgrade everything.”
The project goes to a regulatory hearing with the Public Service Commission November 10 for final approval.