Salt Palace Solar Project Underway After Hiccup

(KCPW News) The Salt Palace Convention Center is preparing for a 2.5-megawatt jolt from what’s being called the largest single rooftop solar system in the United States. The project, led by Salt Lake County, took off last September, but hit a speed bump when the county didn’t complete contracts in time to receive necessary federal tax credits. Darrin Casper, the county’s chief financial officer, says they were just late in the process, so they had to wait for the 2011 tax credits. But he says that money was far less than expected, putting pressure on community development programs to choose their projects wisely.

“Having said all that,” he says, “there is a commitment from the National Development Council to fund this project. So it’s back on track and at this stage, we have a development agreement signed and an advanced loan agreement from Salt Lake County to get the project rolling prior to the closing of the New Market Tax Credit’s transaction.”

The National Development Council is a non-profit organization that helps fund development projects in underserved communities. Casper says the project is a big deal, because Utah uses less solar power for its latitude and ability to generate solar power than surrounding states.

“From Salt Lake County’s perspective,” he says, “this project is important for educational purposes, for economic development purposes, we believe that we will start sparking interest in this area, as well as a financial benefit to Salt Lake County.”

Casper says the benefit to the county is expected to be in the millions of dollars. The project is slated for completion by the end of this year.