When someone thinks about solar panels, they often think of the installations on houses and homes, helping homeowners reduce their energy bills and their dependence on fossil fuels. But solar panel installation isn’t limited to just homes in the Salt Lake area. Gardner Energy works with private businesses, government institutions, and now, university research facilities. Recently, Gardner Energy partnered with Utah Valley University to help upgrade the solar panel systems at its Capitol Reef Research facility.

Solar Powered Studies

Located in south-central Utah, nestled deep into the heart of the isolated Capitol Reef National Park, the Utah Valley University research facility was first built in 2009. At the time of its construction, and even today, the facility is too far away from major amenities and hookups, necessitating the need for an energy system that would allow them to remain “off the grid.” The natural choice then, was solar energy, as the Utah desert has no end of brilliant sunshine all year long. This allowed the students, researchers, and professors at the Capitol Reef Research facility to continue their work without interruption or the reliance on makeshift energy solutions.

Improving Their Solar Panel System

But soon after the facility was opened, the research facility staff recognized the need for more battery storage and a solar panel system that took up less space. With these needs apparent, they turned to Salt Lake’s trusted solar panel installation experts, Gardner Energy. After meeting with the university and researchers, the specialists at Gardner Energy began the search for a new power storage solution.

Gardner Energy had installed the first battery system at the Capitol Reef Research facility when it first opened in 2009. The original system was a 14-kilowatt solar array that utilized a 130 kWh lead-acid battery system. Advanced for its time, the lead-acid battery system had been tailored to the needs of the facility, so Gardner oversized the battery system by 80 percent. This oversizing protected the batteries from failing, as well as improving the system’s lifespan. The oversized system was meant to last eight years, but the reality is that lead-acid batteries require frequent maintenance and even more frequent replacement. This issue was exacerbated by the fact that the lead-acid battery began to leak, causing severe damage to the floors and walls of the facility.

A New Solar Panel System

With these factors and faults in mind, Gardner Energy recognized the facility needed a safer, longer lasting battery. They chose the Blue Ion Energy System. The Blue Ion system eliminated the need for caustic lead-acid based batteries, and also reduced the storage size of the batteries by 80 percent. The result was a smaller, more efficient, and most importantly, more environmentally friendly solar power battery system that was easy to install. The Gardner Energy team needed only one hour to set up all five enclosures for the new Blue Ion Battery. This new system has a 21-year lifespan, and is completely maintenance free, allowing researchers to spend their time on their work, and not worrying about their solar panel system. The new system went live in October of 2017.

Connect With Gardner Energy

Considering switching your home, business, or research facility in Salt Lake to solar power? Contact Gardner Energy today. You can request a free quote, and our solar panel installation experts will help you design the perfect solar panel array for you!