Blue Sky Funds First Solar and Battery Project at Sanpete County School

March 17, 2017

Solar panels

SALT LAKE CITY — Rocky Mountain Power has awarded Blue Sky funding for three renewable projects – including a contribution to a large solar array and battery storage system at North Sanpete Middle School in Moroni. Blue Sky funds will also go to the Vernal Area Chamber of Commerce and the DaVinci Academy of Science and Arts in Ogden.

The North Sanpete Middle School will receive $576,224 to build a 206 kilowatt solar array as well as a 32 kilowatt-hour battery storage system and electric vehicle charging station. The battery system will be charged using excess solar power during the day and help meet the school’s energy needs when the sun isn’t shining.

“This is an exciting new chapter because this is the first time Blue Sky funds have been used for battery storage,” said Keven Hoopiiaina, Blue Sky Manager for Rocky Mountain Power. “This innovative project will provide valuable lessons for students and the public about how the latest technology can be used to promote clean energy.”

The North Sanpete School District is already leading the way for students to learn more about renewable energy and technology. District schools already have some small solar panels. The middle school and high school have extracurricular “Greenpower” electric car teams where students work on electric cars for sanctioned electric car competitions. The school district is also planning to add courses to teach students how to install and test solar panels.

“We consider the solar and battery project to be an important part of our STEM – Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics – educational efforts,” said Dr. Samuel Ray, North Sanpete School District Superintendent of Schools. “We want our students to be on the cutting edge of technology and renewable energy.”

The Blue Sky program also awarded $55,984 to help install a 41 kilowatt solar array at the Vernal Area Chamber of Commerce. The chamber’s highly visible building on Vernal’s Main Street will also have kiosks so visitors can learn how the solar panels are producing energy for the facility.

“We hope this solar project will be a strong example in a community that has not traditionally used renewable energy,” said Joel Brown, Vernal Area Chamber of Commerce Executive Director.

The DaVinci Academy of Science and Arts has been awarded $163,800 to build a 65 kilowatt solar system. The solar panels will provide about 89,000 kilowatt hours each year or about 13 percent of the charter school’s energy needs.

“This school was built with a mission of giving students the knowledge and skills needed to compete in the 21st century,” said Dr. Fred Donaldson, DaVinci Academy of Science and Arts Executive Director. “Our teaching has always emphasized alternative energy and this solar array will now allow students to have hands on experience on how solar energy can be harnessed and used.”

This year nearly $800,000 was given in Blue Sky grants to the three Utah projects. Utah’s Blue Sky customers have voluntarily supported wind power generation in the region and provided more than $8 million in funding awards to community-based renewable energy projects. Last year alone, Blue Sky customers in Utah supported newly developed wind energy equal to planting nearly 1.7 million trees and committed funding to help bring six new solar projects online in the state.

Blue Sky provides an easy and convenient way for customers to support the development of renewable energy resources in the western United States and in their state. Blue Sky renewable energy is separate from, and in addition to, what Rocky Mountain Power buys or generates to serve its customers. The program is Green-e Energy certified by the nonprofit Center for Resource Solutions.

Utah currently has more than 44,000 Blue Sky customers. A new video shows how the Blue Sky program is making a big difference in all of the states served by Rocky Mountain Power. For more information or to sign up, visit

UPDATE: The Vernal Chamber of Commerce later declined the award and will not be moving forward on the project at this time.

Photo: Previously funded Blue Sky projects include a solar installation at Cottonwood High School in Murray, Utah.

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