A new -powered complex in Herriman, Utah is gaining attention in the solar community. Located about 25 miles from Salt Lake City, the Soleil Lofts consist of 600 units, all operating on solar power. According to its founders, the complex is a testing ground for new technology that manages and stores excess solar energy. 

Rocky Mountain Power and Wasatch Group teamed up with Wasatch Premier communities and other partners to make the a reality. If their final plans for the Soleil Lofts come into fruition, residents can expect 75% of their energy usage to come directly from solar power.  

Utah’s Pollution Problem 

One major incentive for the construction of the Soleil Lofts stems from Utah’s inversion problem. During the wintertime, residents in the Salt Lake City valley have come to expect a thick, massive cloud of dark pollution to hibernate above the city like an immovable, brown bear.  

40% of the unsightly smog found in the valley every year can be blamed on both home and building pollution. The Soleil Lofts are an attempt to help clear Salt Lake City’s hazy skies and mitigate the high pollution statistics.  

Soleil Lofts: The Details 

 William Comeau, Director of Customer Innovations at Rocky Mountain Power, stated that their battery grid management system for the Soleil Lofts acts as a “virtual power plant.” Every apartment has a battery that stores excess solar energy to be used later for outages.  

While this particular solar technique is not unique, Rocky Mountain Power goes a step further by gathering the solar power from the batteries and redistributing it back to the grid during peak energy hours. This process also helps keep the solar grid stable. 

The batteries store nearly 20-kilowatts of energy and last four to five times longer than traditional non-utility scale batteries. Compared to natural gas and electric utility bills, residents at the Soleil Lofts can expect lower monthly payments.  

Residents first moved into the lofts this past September. A final building is set to be completed by December 2020. Although the overall building cost for the solar lofts is unknown, apartments.com has studio apartments listed at just over $1,000 a month and three-bedroom apartments for just under $2,000 a month.  

More Good News for Utah 

Just this past Monday on December 23rd, two Utah cities committed to 100% net-renewable energy use by 2030Coalville and West Valley City now join 18 other cities to make the same pledge, bringing the total to 20 cities. The Community Renewable Energy Act, also known as H.B. 411, was established to help Utah cities move towards this collective energy goal. 

H.B. 411 helps establish a legal framework for cities working towards implementing solar and renewable technologies. Under the act, participating cities will run 100% off solar and other clean energy resources by 2030. California and Hawaii have made similar commitments, only these regions have committed to 100 % renewable resources statewide by 2045. 

Paving the Way for Solar Integration 

Constructing solar-powered apartments is great news for Utahns – and even better news for the region’s air quality. Comeau stated that he believes these solar apartments are the “direction of the future.”  

Comeau is correct. The solar lofts recently won the 2019 Project of the Year from Utility Dive, a news organization that recognizes innovation in the solar and renewable energy realms. Editor-in-chief of Utility Dive stated that, “the people and organizations that win the Dive Awards are trailblazers and leaders in their markets. Their achievements in 2019 are shaping the future of where the latest strategies and trends are going. 

As this year comes to a close, Utah has a lot to look forward to in 2020 regarding solar and renewable energy projects. By 2030, solar lofts and other solar-powered residences are sure to be the norm.  

Take a look at the lofts on their website here: https://www.soleilloftsisyourhome.com/soleil-lofts-herriman-ut/ 

Resources: 

https://www.ksl.com/article/46693523/all-electric-community-in-herriman-becomes-testing-ground-for-new-solar-tech-solution 

https://www.kuer.org/post/20-utah-communities-commit-100-renewable-energy-goals

https://www.sltrib.com/news/environment/2019/08/27/all-electric-home/ 

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