Renewable Energy for Utah Homes


Picture Courtesy of US Department of Energy

Civil Solutions Group is northern Utah’s leader in Renewable Energy Planning.  Renewable energy can be defined as producing replenishing electricity through natural sources and methods from which there is minimal environmental impact.  Energy produced by solar, wind, and water are considered renewable sources.  You have probably seen large wind farms in the desert and hydro-electric dams in the canyons, but did you know that renewable energy may be a viable option for your home?

Solar energy is the most widely available renewable energy source.  Solar energy captures the sun’s power and harnesses it into useable energy for your home through solar panels.  Solar panels are typically installed on roof tops with a solar aspect that maximizes the suns path through the day.  Solar panels are also installed in open yard areas on poles which track the sun’s rays throughout the day.

Ninety percent of solar panel installations are grid tie configurations, meaning that the home has a power source other than the solar panels.  Grid tie solar systems allow homeowners to offset power consumption with the power generated through the solar panels.  Most electrical companies (including Rocky Mountain) permit “net metering” with grid tied applications, which means that any power generated through solar panel systems is credited in behalf of the owner (thus minimizing the monthly bills).  A solar system could also be tied to a battery offering an even greater level of comfort allowing for continued power consumption in times of power outage or creating independent power of the grid.  According to the US Department of Energy photovoltaic panels when connected can create between 10 to 300 daily watts.

Hydroelectric energy is produced by harnessing the energy in flowing water.  Properties that have a flowing perennial stream or river have the potential to create hydroelectric energy.  Because streams and rivers flow 24 hours a day, 7 days a week the potential to create energy and the return on investment is very high.  With as little as 3-feet of elevation drop and a constant water source, the hydroelectric system could produce thousands of watts per day.  Civil Solutions Group has completed the design, planning, and management of grid tie and off the grid hydroelectric systems in northern Utah.

Renewable energy systems are eligible for Federal and State of Utah tax credits.  Solar, Wind and Hydroelectric systems are eligible to receive 25 percent of the project cost as a State of Utah tax credit ($2,000 limit).  Solar and Wind systems are eligible to receive 30 percent of the project cost as a Federal tax credit with no limit to the amount of the credit.  The State of Utah tax credit may be carried forward for four years and the Federal tax credit can be carried forward for one year.  Tax incentives are also available for commercial and business projects.

Renewable energy systems are important to reducing our energy footprint and play an essential role in the solution for improving our air quality.  The majority of residential properties have the potential for a renewable energy system.  Civil Solutions Group offers consulting and planning services to match the correct system for each unique homeowner’s needs.