The future of solar energy in Utah is looking bright.
Last December, Utah released a new 10-year solar deployment plan with the overarching goals of removing barriers to photovoltaic adoption and increasing market growth.
As a part of the U.S. Department of Energy’s SunShot Initiative, a national program dedicated to supporting the adoption of photovoltaic power, the Utah Clean Energy plan lays a path toward a more robust solar market across the state.
Although the photovoltaic industry as a whole is growing, not everyone who lives in Utah has the means to access solar energy. The new deployment plan addresses the specific issues that bar Utah residents from adopting photovoltaic power.
Offering more financing options is one way to boost the solar market, as many families don’t have the cash available to purchase a home PV system. To address this challenge, the plan suggests implementing a residential Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) program.
Expanding low-income access to photovoltaic power, such as through community solar, is another solar energy deployment plan priority. Community solar projects provide renters and residents without rooftop space to utilize power from the sun’s energy.
According to the Utah Clean Energy plan, the state’s solar access law must be modified to protect the rights of homeowners who wish to install photovoltaic systems as well as those who already use renewable energy.
Home PV systems installed in Utah typically require a building permit. Depending on local city and county rules, obtaining that permit can be a breeze — or a complete headache. Inconsistent regulations across the state often result in higher costs and longer wait times for some residential photovoltaic installations.
To solve this barrier to solar deployment, the plan advises replicating the best practices used in certain municipalities to create a statewide, standardized approach to the permitting process.
Interconnection standards in Utah also need an overhaul. Utility companies must develop better ways to review and approve more applications for grid connection. In addition, bi-directional meters for net metering need to be installed at a faster pace.
As photovoltaic power adoption increases throughout our state, the utility grid infrastructure is an important consideration. Some solar energy projects have the potential to undermine grid reliability. Consequently, screening requirements are essential for facilitating safe integration with the grid. At the same time, grid upgrades are likely necessary in many areas.
The Utah Clean Energy plan predicts that battery storage will play a large role in the future of the photovoltaic electricity market. Planning to integrate solar battery storage solutions can help ensure a more resilient energy future for our state.
The professional team at Intermountain Wind & Solar can explain the financing options and financial incentives available for your residential PV system. To learn more about how you can power your Utah home with solar energy, contact us today.
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