Wasatch Solar Challenge Brings Six Communities Together

The Wasatch Solar Challenge is announced at The Leonardo

(KCPW News) Salt Lake City is partnering with five other Wasatch Front cities and counties to launch the “Wasatch Solar Challenge” after receiving a $400,000 Department of Energy grant aimed at reducing the cost of developing solar energy. Mayor Ralph Becker says it’s a chance for communities to share information on providing the right incentives to use solar energy.

“And providing a common system for people who want to come in and get city permits for solar,” he says. “This is really a good opportunity for local governments, thanks to a federal grant, to come together at the grassroots level and help provide a framework so that we can have more renewable energy use, and solar in particular, as a mainstream part of our community’s energy source.

The nonprofit Utah Clean Energy is managing the project. Senior Policy and Regulatory Associate Sara Baldwin says there are several goals to accomplish in the next year, starting with making the solar permitting process easier and creating a comprehensive website for residents and businesses to get information.

“We’re going to develop some model, solar-friendly zoning guidelines, not only for these communities but for all communities across the state to take advantage, and then lastly, we will be working to develop some innovative financing mechanisms,” says Baldwin.

The Wasatch Solar Challenge is one of 22 such projects nationwide funded by the Department of Energy. It includes Salt Lake County, Summit County, Midvale, West Valley City and Park City.