University of Utah launches U Community Solar program

MILLCREEK, Utah (ABC 4 Utah) – Tuesday more than 190 countries are celebrating a holiday that started right here in the USA.

Earth Day stared in 1970 when people wanted to talk about environmental issues that plagued New York City.

Fast forward 44 years later in Utah, the environment is still a topic of discussion that tops the list.

“I wanted to do something that I thought was the right thing for the earth to start with. And it seemed like the right thing to do to help lower my utility cost,” said Jay Vestal.

Vestal and 100 other residents joined Utah Clean Energy on a push to power up on solar energy.

The total cost to install the solar panels was $12,000, but it was cheaper than that. The partnership allowed him save 30% on that bill.

“With a federal tax credit of $3,000 and a state credit of $2,000 it ended up being about a $7,000 investment,” Vestal added.

“People are saving money from day one when the solar on their roof starts producing electricity,” said Kate Bowman with Utah Clean Energy.

In 2012, Vestal paid $80.00 during the month of February on electricity. Now his bill is $12.00 a month for the rest of the year.

“The net difference between what I take and what I put back in is the only cost I have,” says Vestal.

It’s a cost that is benefiting all of us and our environment.

“Renewable energy is wonderful because it does not rely on fossil fuels and it helps with air quality because we don't have admissions Associated with air quality,” says Myron Wilson with University of Utah Office of Sustainability.

“It's an opportunity for them to walk the walk and do something that is good for the environment,” Bowman added.

The University of Utah partnered up with local two contractors to save the U Community 25% on installation. That offer is up in October 1, 2014.

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