Renewable Energy Technology Incentives in Utah
Unlike many other states, Utah doesn’t have a RPS but has decided on a voluntary renewables goal of achieving 20% electricity produced from green technologies by 2025. By the end of 2014 the state had reached just 4.3%, with 73% still coming from coal, despite having incentives in place to enable residential and commercial uptake of renewable energy.
Utah has great resources for developing wind power and has made some inroads over the last decade or so. The biggest project in the state is the Milford Wind Farm with a capacity of 306 MW and there is a currently a proposal being considered to increase this site from 165 turbines up to 300. Complaints about the effects on property values have, however, dogged new projects that could expand the contribution of wind power in the state.
Utah has a small but growing solar industry with around 84 companies employing nearly 3,000 workers. There is 255 MW of capacity currently installed in the state providing electricity for over four thousand properties. The biggest project so far is the 104 MW Redhill’s Renewable Energy Park and the biggest planned installation to date is at the Utah Olympic Oval, expected to have 3,000 individual solar panels.
Utah has 6 hydroelectric plants including the Echo Park Dam which has a capacity of 200 MW. There is plenty of scope for developing micro hydro too, particularly for remote communities and agricultural areas. The Beaver Biomass Plant is the only one in the state but there is plenty of room for growth in this area with the resources available.
Solar PV Incentives in Utah
There are good incentives to take on solar panels in Utah and you will benefit from a relatively strong return on investment as well as lower electricity bills. The first important incentive is the Rocky Mountain Power Solar Incentive Program which gives a maximum benefit for residential properties of $4,600. Then you need to add in the Federal Tax Rebate on the remaining cost which reduces outlay by 30%. There are also a host of low cost loans and grants available including PACE Financing.
Solar PV Case Study in Utah
Utah allows you to buy your solar panels or enter into a leasing agreement with a third party where you get free installation but hand over any benefits such as rebates. The cost of a 5 kW installation should be around $20,000 which is reduced by the Rocky Mountain Power incentive and a Federal Tax Rebate. With all the savings you should expect to pay off any investment in the first 10 years and then make a profit of nearly $23,000 over the 25 years the array should operate. That doesn’t take into account the rise in sale value of your home because of the installation.
Solar Thermal Incentives in Utah
Solar thermal is also a popular technology for citizens in the state, often chosen over solar PV because it is cheaper to install and provides an economic way of heating water. There are federal tax credits available as well as rebates from utility companies such as the Questar Gas Residential Energy Efficiency Rebate Programs.
Small Hydro Incentives in Utah
There is capacity in the state to include micro hydro systems particularly for remote areas and agricultural operations. Installations benefit from the Federal Tax Rebate and other incentives such as the Alternative Energy Development Incentive. There are a number of grants and low cost loans available both on a state and federal basis.
Geothermal Incentives in Utah
Geothermal installations are becoming increasingly popular, particularly for properties where the insulation is good and there is enough ground space for systems to be put in. A ground source heat pump can produce a good return on investment and benefits from a number of tax credits and incentives such as the Rocky Mountain Power Wattsmart New Homes Program.
Biomass Incentives in Utah
Utah has a lot of potential for developing biomass power and many businesses and homes are switching to new technology such as wood chip and biomass boilers. There are incentives from the Federal Tax Rebate and state benefits such as the Alternative Energy Development Incentive.
Wind Power Incentives in Utah
The development of wind power in Utah has often been affected by local objections to turbines being built but there is much potential in the region for making a large contribution to the energy mix. Local, small wind turbine installations could benefit agricultural and remote locations where the additional revenue would be welcome. The cost of a wind turbine installation is larger than with most other renewables but there are incentives such as the Federal Tax Rebate and tax relief including the Alternative Energy Sales Tax Exemption. There are also federal and state loan and grant opportunities available.
For those who want to install renewable energy technology there are plenty of incentives in Utah. The solar industry is continuing to grow slowly and, while there is still some way to their goal of 20% by 2020, things are looking bright.
You can find out more about the renewable technology incentives available for the state of Utah on the DSIRE web portal.