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Solar Power Plants Image Credit: Rich Geraud

Published on June 27th, 2014 | by Jake Richardson

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320 MW Solar Deal For Utah Utility Because Solar’s The Cheapest Option

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June 27th, 2014 by  

Rocky Mountain Power struck a deal with Boston-based First Wind agreeing to purchase solar power over twenty years from four solar facilities in Beaver and Iron counties in Utah. Construction is set to begin in 2015 and be completed the following year. According to First Wind, the new solar sites will be able to provide clean electricity to about 90,000 homes in Utah.

Image Credit: Rich Geraud

Image Credit: Rich Geraud

“These additional long-term contracts with Rocky Mountain Power will  enable us to move forward quickly with what will be the largest solar  development in Utah, and our largest solar project to date,” explained First Wind CEO Paul Gaynor.

Rocky Mountain Power has been operating for over one hundred years, providing electricity to millions of people in Utah, Wyoming and Idaho. They currently serve about 1.7 million customers, with 829,00 in Utah and 562,000 in Oregon. They have over 40 hydroelectric facilities, thirteen wind and five natural gas. (Apparently they have no solar power plants.) Under the agreement with the First Wind, they still won’t any own any, but will only purchase the power.

An article on Think Progress noted, “Solar generation is already undercutting coal and natural gas in some parts of the country (and wind has been undercutting them virtually everywhere for some time) leading to the spread of solar PPAs that can out-bid competing fossil fuel projects.”

The rate at which solar power is improving suggests that this trend will continue and new energy projects might all become renewables at some point.

Utah currently ranks number 26 in the United States for installed solar capacity with 18 megawatts. Last year, less than four percent of Utah’s net electricity was generated by renewables.

Politics may be holding back the development of renewables there. Several years ago, a local legislator said he thought climate change was just a ruse to try to control the human population.

Rocky Mountain Power is part of Berkshire Hathway Energy.

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About the Author

Hello, I have been writing online for some time, and enjoy the outdoors. If you like, you can follow me on Google Plus.



  • PV owner

    4,000 homes? That’s 80 kW per home. I cover all my electricity needs with 3 kW. I think this statement needs correcting.

    • jiftuq bf

      per year

      • Matt

        To be a per year it would need to be a kWh term. They don’t list how many Gwh/year the plant will make. But “maybe” someone did a calculation 320MW*cap factor*hour in year = xGWh divide that by average yearly use in Utah and you get ~4000. That is why I hate the # homes number, since every release uses a different equation to calculate it and no info on what they did.

      • PV owner

        I checked First Wind press release. They state 90,000 homes. Not sure if this is a correction from original reference. Very impressive. Go First Wind!

  • No way

    What plans do they have to get rid of the natural gas?

  • Jouni Valkonen

    Here again must be noted that solar still gets subsidies from Federal Government. But of course this is good progress forwards!

    • JP

      Here again it must be noted that oil, gas, and coal still get subsidies from the Federal Government.

      • sault

        And fossil fuels are allowed to spew pollution into our environment, causing hundreds of billions of dollars in damages that they don’t have to pay one red cent for.

        • Jouni Valkonen

          And most importantly exporting oil leads into huge unfairnes of global distribution of wealth. The average production cost of Oil in Middle East is less than 10 dollars per barrel, but due to OPEC cartel oil price is closer to 100 dollars per barrel.

          It goes without saing that oil rich countries are only robbing the rest of the world.

          Norwegian is the only expection, because at least they have created with oil wealth fabulously rich middle class and they have invested oil wealth ethically following the principles of sustainable development.

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