Utah solar panels and solar power plan



Improving the world through greater use of solar power energy. Solar products, passive solar homes, concepts, plans, planning, information and references.



The Utah Energy Office promotes the use of solar energy through demonstration projects, workshops, public information, and administration of the Renewable Energy Systems tax credit.

Select from the menu for information on solar energy and Utah Energy Office activities. If you have questions, call (800) 662-3633 or Click here to e-mail the Utah Energy Office.

Solar energy systems can provide either heat or electricity. Heat for water, homes, and buildings can be provided by solar water and space heating systems, which utilize solar collectors to capture the sun's energy. Passive solar homes incorporate design features that allow for the collection, storage, and distribution of solar energy.

Solar Hot Water and Heating

The sun heats solar collectors, and the heat is transferred to water or air as it passes through the collector. With Utah's abundance of sunshine, a solar water heating system can meet the majority of home water heating needs. Homes and buildings can also be heated with solar heating systems.
Another solar heating system, called transpired solar collectors, consists of perforated panels attached to the south wall of a building, with a few inches between the panels and the building wall. The panels are painted a dark color, and absorb heat from the sun. The buildings ventilation system draws incoming air through the perforations and behind the panels were the air is heated before entering the building. This system is very effective on building which require large quantities of ventilation air, including warehouses, large manufacturing plants, and airplane maintenance hangars.
Passive Solar Design

A passive solar structure is one that permits direct sunlight to entering through windows to provide heating, but is also designed to not overheat the structure and to minimize heat loss through the windows at night. Features of passive solar design are structure shape and orientation, window area, thermal mass to store heat, overhangs to shade the windows in summer, and thermal shades or highly insulated windows. In Utah, 50 to 75% of heating is achievable. Sunspaces, if designed properly, will provide heating for a home or building.

Photovoltaic Systems

Photovoltaic (PV) panels convert sunlight directly to electricity. PV panels vary in size from a few square inches to about the size of a door. The largest panels generate 300 watts in full sunlight. A PV system, which consists of PV panels, a charge controller, and may include an inverter and batteries, can provide electricity for everything from parking lot lights to large utility size systems that can power a city.
These systems have several advantages; they may be a cost-effective alternative to utility line extensions, they have no moving parts and are low maintenance, and they produce electricity without polluting the environment.
In areas with utility service, some individuals and communities chose photovoltaics for the environmental benefit even though it is not the least-cost alternative. The visitor center at Zion National Park has a PV system that contributes to powering the building and supplies electricity to critical systems during utility outages.
Concentrating Solar Power

Solar thermal technologies can be used to generate electricity from the sun. These technologies concentrate the suns power to heat a working fluid, such as water or molten salts. The heated working fluid is used to produce steam to run a turbine that generates electricity.


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