- Will the solar equipment be hooked up to my home?
No. The power generated by the SunSmart solar farm will be sent to one of the city's substations and then the power is transported throughout the community by means of existing distribution circuits.
- If I sign up for SunSmart will I stop receiving a monthly power bill?
No, you will continue to receive your monthly bill as usual, but you will receive a credit from the energy your unit has produced that month.
- How will this help increase sustainability?
By supporting a local power source residents keep their money in their own community and have the comfort of knowing that they control a portion of their power supply.
- How long do I own the unit for?
Purchasers of SunSmart will own the unit for a minimum of 19 years, equivalent to the life of an average solar panel. After 19 years, the panels will be evaluated to determine if they need to be replaced or repaired and how much it would cost to do so. The purchaser will have the choice to pay the cost, if there is one, and continue owning the unit or they can decline and the unit will be available for others to purchase.
- Are there any fees after I pay the initial fee?
No, only monthly credits on your energy bill!
- Why did St. George choose solar?
St. George looked at all of the renewable sources of energy and performed multiple studies; it was determined that, due to the weather and the landscape, solar was the best choice.
- Why now?
The utility companies serving St. George have decided to launch this program now in response to requests from the community for a local, renewable source of energy.
- What is the benefit of SunSmart?
By participating in the program, residents help lower their carbon footprint and invest in their local economy. The economies of scale make SunSmart an affordable, maintenance-free way to take advantage of solar power.
- Why is the program set up this way?
St. George residents are able to participate in a variety of programs that support renewable energy. Prior to launching this program the City of St. George Energy Services Department and Dixie Escalante Electric performed in-depth research to determine what residents wanted. SunSmart was designed to meet community demand and give residents another option.
- Is there a limit to the number of units I can buy?
The limit is 4 units or 8 half units.
- What is the minimum amount of energy credit a person can anticipate receiving?
A minimum output of 800kWhs a year is guaranteed.
- If I live outside of St. George but within the State of Utah, can I by a unit for a grandchild or someone living within the City limits so they get the monthly energy credit, but I get the tax credit? And what if I live out of state, can the person I am buying it for receive the tax credit?
The person receiving the tax credit must live in St. George and they must also be receiving the credit of energy.
- Why is there no federal tax credit?
This type of program is so innovative that legislation on a federal level has not been created yet.
- Why is it only available to people living within the St. George city limits?
The bill that was passed to make this program possible was for a municipal project so the tax credit is only available to St. George residents.
- Why should people participate if there is not a good return on investment?
There is a return on investment, but not a financial one. By participating in this program you are investing in your community.
- It seems kind of expensive, why isn't it cheaper?
Each unit is priced to cover the cost of the equipment and installation. The city is not making any money off of this project; all of the savings go to the purchaser. By having a solar farm of this size the purchaser benefits from the economies of scale.
- Why is the City not just increasing rates to pay for the solar farm?
The city did not want to force anyone to pay for the project if they did not want to be a part of it. It also gives the residents ownership in the community farm.
- What do I do if I move out of St. George city limits?
The unit would be sold with the home.
- What happens if I move to another home within the St. George city limits?
You would have the option to take the unit with you to the new house or sell it with the old home.