Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Solar energy poised to blossom in Utah desert

First Wind, which operates a 165-turbine wind farm near Milford, is now moving into the solar business. On Wednesday the company announced it has reached critical agreements with Rocky Mountain Power to purchase 20 megawatts of power from seven projects First Wind will build in Iron and Beaver counties. They will deploy 73,000 300-watt panels expected to go online in summer 2015, producing enough power for 4,000 Utah homes.

Juwi Solar, a Boulder, Colo.-based subsidiary of the German firm Juwi AG, is developing a 50-megawatt solar farm on 350 acres of private ranchlands outside Holden. The company has signed a 20-year power purchase agreement with Rocky Mountain Power.

SunEdison has the most ambitious plans for Utah, with several projects in the works in southwestern Utah. The company has secured agreements to sell 33 megawatts and is negotiating contracts for another 55. It also is eyeing four large-scale projects across sites that could generate up to 260 megawatts — about two-thirds the capacity of Salt Lake City’s Gadsby generating station. SunEdison plans on investing $500 million in Utah by 2016, generating 700 construction jobs and establishing a centralized service center in Iron County that would have 10 to 15 permanent positions. Salt Lake Tribune