30-Kilowatt Solar Array Installed on Leonardo’s Roof

(KCPW News) The Leonardo science, technology and art museum on Salt Lake City’s Library Square now features 148 solar panels on its roof, paid for by Rocky Mountain Power’s Blue Sky program and the voter-approved bond used to remodel the building. Leonardo Executive Director Peter Giles notes that energy is an important part of the museum’s visitor experience.

“Leonardo da Vinci described himself, I think quite modestly, as an interpreter between man and nature, and what we are seeing today on the top of this Leonardo remodeled building is quite an extraordinary example of nature at work,” he said Monday.

The museum will have a dashboard inside to show visitors how much renewable power is flowing into the building and being used.

Salt Lake City Sustainability and Environment Director Vicki Bennett explains that although solar power costs more than traditional energy sources right now, the price is guaranteed for as long as the solar panels hold out, now that they’ve been installed.

“Numbers we’re hearing from the Public Utilities Commission and Rocky Mountain Power is an increase in electrical prices by about six percent a year. We won’t be seeing that here,” she tells KCPW. “So in a few years, I think we’ll be even, and probably in the future, well ahead on the price of this project compared to the regular utility rates.”

The rooftop system will generate 30 kilowatts of electricity, though Bennett says it’s unclear right now what percentage of the museum’s power that will provide since the building has been remodeled to save energy. The Leonardo will open to the public on Saturday, October 8th.