By Ben Nielsen
The installation of 927 solar panels on a new building for Malouf Fine Linens in Logan was completed this month — a move that company officials believe will improve energy costs and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Although the unoccupied building is not scheduled to be finished until March 2016, the panels, made by Hunt Electric, will benefit the construction process by helping power equipment.
“On average, 80 percent of the building will be powered by solar power,” said Jake Neeley, the marketing director for Malouf.
Neeley said solar-powered electric car chargers are currently being installed, and the building will use natural light to help heat it rather than conventional heating.
“The northern Utah valleys are known for bad air quality,” Neeley said. “We’ve been working on initiatives for better environmental sustainability.”
Nikki Anderson, the project manager for Hunt, said the solar array on Malouf’s building will reduce 307 metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions every year.
“It offsets the equivalent of 729,898 miles a year driven by passenger vehicles,” she said. “This is like taking 64 cars off the road every year for the life of the system.”
Neeley said the solar panels make a lot of financial sense, too.
“There are a lot of incentives that the state creates to make recapture costs come more quickly,” he said. “Rocky Mountain Power covered 25 percent of the cost of the entire solar array. There are federal credits that equated to 30 percent of the cost and state credits that covered 10 percent.”
“That’s more than 50 percent of the total system cost being offset by other revenue,” Anderson said.
Anderson said Malouf’s move to solar power is a testament to the company’s values.
“They want to give their employees a better work environment and they understand that environment doesn’t stop when you walk out the doors,” she said. “Cleaner air is a community effort and Malouf is a leader in Cache County striving towards that effort.”