Some Renters in Utah Could Have Really Low Power Bills Thanks to a Buffett Utility

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(Bloomberg) -- Renters in what will be the nation’s biggest all-electric, carbon-free, solar-powered apartment complex could soon be paying the lowest power bills in Utah thanks to a Warren Buffett utility and a Royal Dutch Shell Plc unit that makes batteries.

Wasatch Property Management Inc., a Utah-based developer, is working with Buffett’s Rocky Mountain Power LLC utility and battery maker Sonnen on the 600-unit complex -- to be named Soleil Lofts -- that’s set to open in 2020 just south of Salt Lake City, at the foot of the Wasatch Mountains.

Sonnen will install 12.6 megawatt-hours of battery storage and control systems that Buffett’s utility will use to manage the power produced by 5.2 megawatts of solar panels within the local electrical grid. Additionally, 100 parking spots will have electric vehicle charging stations that can draw from the stored solar energy.

“We put as many panels on the roof as we could,” said Chief Executive Officer Dell Loy Hansen of the Wasatch Group. “Salt Lake City has some of the worst air pollution. By producing and using their own electricity, the utility won’t need to run natural gas plants in the city to meet demand."

The complex will arrive as businesses and homeowners nationwide are increasingly choosing to cut back on carbon emissions with renewable energy.

“It allows us to build out a storage platform,” said William Comeau, managing director of Rocky Mountain Power. “This has the potential to go to 100s of megawatts. It helps the grid.”

©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

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