Celtic Bank recently closed funding on a 1.5-megawatt solar project at the University of Utah.
The panels were installed at the 729 Arapeen and 383 Colorow facilities within the University of Utah research Park on campus, and include multiple mounting configurations (rooftop, parking canopy, and ground).
While most lenders limit their involvement to providing tax equity, permanent debt, or construction funding, Celtic Bank provided all three capital components for this project. By partnering with Celtic Bank, the university was able to complete this project with no out-of-pocket costs and no taxpayer capital at risk.
"The University of Utah is excited about the opportunity to significantly expand our alternative energy sources," said Real Estate Administration Executive Director Jonathon Bates. "These projects not only align with the university's commitment to be carbon neutral by 2050, but also begin the process of reinforcing sustainable building practices in Research Park on the cusp of its 50th birthday." Amy Wildermuth, Chief Sustainability Officer at the university, added, "Projects like this one, which can supply a whopping 1.5 MW of power, are much more than token gestures. They diversify our energy supply and are visible reminders of our commitment to better air quality and carbon neutrality. To do this at no increased cost to the university and without using taxpayer funds is truly a remarkable accomplishment."
Solar energy was reported last year as the world's fastest-growing source of power. In Salt Lake City alone, it's been growing at a rapid pace, with an estimated 60,000 panels installed. The new university facilities are projected to save about 1.6 tons of carbon dioxide a year and represent a combined effort with local contractor EFG Consulting, the University of Utah, and Celtic Bank to increase the renewable energy sources in Salt Lake City.
Cody Deeter, President of EFG, said, "Colorow LLC, as owner of the solar array, is grateful to partner with the university as it continues to fulfill its mission as an environmental steward. We are also grateful to partner with Celtic Bank who funded the project and Hunt Electric Renewables who designed and built the project. This is a wonderful example of how great partnerships can make a meaningful impact on the future as the University generates onsite power from the sun for the next 20 years and beyond."
While low power rates often make completion of large solar projects difficult in the state of Utah--especially for non-profit entities like the University of Utah--local contractors and Celtic's innovative commercial solar financing department partnered up to make the project affordable and possible.
"Celtic Bank was excited about being involved with this 1.5 MW facility from the very beginning," said Celtic Bank's Justin Fuller, who oversees the renewable energy program at Celtic. "This project is a win for all of the stakeholders but most of all for the community as a pollution offset."