Solar-powered gas station opens in Salt Lake City

Posted at 9:02 PM, Jun 30, 2013
and last updated 2013-06-30 23:02:12-04

SALT LAKE CITY --  A gas station running on green energy may seem like a contradiction in terms, but a Salt Lake City Chevron owner has turned to solar power to keep the lights on at her downtown gas station.

Tammy Reid owns the Chevron gas station located on West Temple and 500 South, and her station is the first solar-powered gas station in the state.

Reid said she thinks the solar panels giver her station a unique draw.

"I think it's gonna bring in more business and people will think I'm environmentally friendly,” she said.

Reid hired a West Jordan company called Solartek Solutions to install more than 125 solar panels on the canopy just above where customers pump their gas. Meg McIntyre of Solartek Solutions said the panels will mean big savings for Reid.

"With the inclusion of solar and LED, we're gonna cut this Chevron station's power bill in half and the great thing is she now owns half of her electricity,” McIntyre said.

Jeff Hymas with Rocky Mountain Power said solar power makes up a fraction of their customer base, but he said the number of solar, or net-metered, customers has doubled since 2009.

"With the incentives available now and the technology has improved, it's made it possible for people to get solar energy without having such a long payback period,” Hymas said.

Reid said she hopes to pay off her investment within four years, especially considering the help she’s received.

"I originally was billed $161,000, and then after I got grants from the state, federal and then Rocky Mountain Power—it's put me down to $22,000 is what I'll be paying out-of-pocket."

Reid said adding the solar panels was as much about helping the environment as it was about saving her store money. She said those who fill up their cars at her Chevron may be leaving a big carbon footprint, but she hopes to at least reduce her own.