Published on May 9th, 2017 | by UC&D Magazine


Solar Flair

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Vivint Smart Home Arena, the home of the Utah Jazz and the premier sports and entertainment venue in the Intermountain West, now boasts one of the nation’s largest rooftop solar systems at an indoor arena, with an array of over 2,700 panels covering 80,000 square feet.
Hunt Electric Inc. led the design, engineering, and installation of the solar array for the Larry H. Miller Group of Companies. The project was completed in a short six weeks (including engineering!), leading up to the ribbon cutting on October 26, 2016. Proof of the favorable opinion Utah residents have for solar was the list of speakers: Gary Herbert; Utah Governor; Ben McAdams, Salt Lake County Mayor; David Bywater, CEO at Vivint Solar; Richard Hunt, CEO of Hunt Electric; Stan Penfold, SLC Council vice chair; Steve Starks, president of the Utah Jazz; and Jim Olson, president of Vivint Smart Home Arena.
The top-to-bottom, $125-millon renovation of the arena (currently in progress) began on the roof by replacing the insulation to aid in energy conservation, before giving the interior a transformation that will result in an enhanced, energy- efficient, first-class customer experience. By putting the roof to work, Vivint Smart Home Arena’s solar array will create energy equivalent to 31.7 million miles of vehicular
traffic while supporting the commitment to reduce the impact on our air quality and encouraging other leaders in the community to do the same.
At 130 feet, in a busy area of Downtown SLC, the site posed unique challenges structurally due to the complicated wind-loading for buildings over 60 feet. The owner also had special requirements for materials used during construction that added to the engineering challenges. Hunt’s extensive experience in the solar industry led to a highly- customized design, with some of the lightest loading on the roof in the industry. The orientation of the building, slopes of the roof, and existing communication equipment let Hunt Electric’s design team of engineers maximize the potential of the roof for energy performance while tying into the technological overhaul of the arena for monitoring and optimization by the arena’s facilities team.
In business since 1986 and with a warranty of up to 25 years, Hunt Electric Inc. has been serving the Utah commercial market, adding disciplines to our expertise by focusing on the needs of our customers, adding the renewables division to our portfolio in 2008. Named the #1 Commercial Solar Contractor in Utah and #2 in the United States by Solar Power World Magazine, Hunt Electric’s expertise allows us to continue to give customers like Vivint Smart Home Arena exceptional customer service with an ongoing relationship built on positive results.
Active in 14 states, Vivint Solar LLC, a sister company of Vivint Smart Home, provided the solar panels to build the project at Vivint Smart Home Arena and has become a leader in the solar industry. Arenas like VSHA compete across their region to offer the best facilities to their guests and attract world-class sports and entertainment events. The long-standing relationships with the Larry H. Miller Group, Vivint Solar, and Hunt Electric Inc. accelerated the project, allowing completion of the solar energy solution before the first home game of the season for the Utah Jazz.
The addition of solar panels plays an important role in helping businesses stay competitive. Solar power provides energy reliability, security, and fiscal independence for businesses. Additionally, every type of building can benefit from solar, even if it doesn’t cover your entire bill. According to EnergySage marketplace data, the average commercial property owner paid $1,950 in monthly electricity bills before going solar. After their installation, their electricity bill was reduced to approximately $500 – a 75% reduction, and typically paying off in 3-7 years. Businesses can also deduct 85 percent of the value of the solar asset from their taxes, providing another significant offset to the upfront cost of a system array.
The American solar workforce grew by 25 percent over 2015, the largest annual growth percentage since the foundation’s first solar jobs census was released in 2010. Utah gained 1,729 solar industry jobs in 2016, representing a 65 percent increase in the state’s solar workforce since 2015 and represents $300 million in economic activity.

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