Updated February 20, 2016
***Political Work in Progress***
Solar Panels In Utah
I find it puzzling that in the state of Utah, solar panels are largely dismissed as a partisan issue, a "green" fad and not a practical alternative energy source.
Utah has lots of land and receives tons of sunlight throughout the year. Utah is an ideal candidate for vast solar farms and solar installations on individual buildings and homes.
On the other hand, Utah’s electricity is less expensive than in other parts of the country, so it may seem easier to just remain shackled to coal and natural gas for our electricity.
While Utah's coal and natural gas powered electricity is abundant and inexpensive, the CO2 and NOx pollution it produces is higher than most of the nation's electricity.
Utah electricity has 33% More CO2, 48% more NOx but 71% less SO2 and 72% less mercury. Depending on which pollutant you look at, Utah's blend of electricity is both cleaner or dirtier than the national average.
During certain times of the year, northern Utah leads the nation in unhealthy air quality. Go Utah!!
Fortunately, most of the unhealthy pollution caused by generating electricity from coal and natural gas in Utah does not contribute to the medical problems caused by local pollution inside the inversion bowls, where the majority of Utah residents live. This is because these power generating plants are far away from the metropolitan areas and do not reside in inversion prone areas.
Most of the unhealthy pollution comes from all the houses, cars and oil refineries located within the air shed under the inversion layer.
State politicians who turn a blind eye to the health consequences of poor air quality and continue to cater to the fossil fuel and home-building industries aren't helping either.
With a bowl shaped geography that captures pollution for weeks and months at a time, the Wasatch front in northern Utah could benefit from more energy efficient houses, fewer oil refineries and gas/diesel powered vehicles driving around the inversion bowl.
Under the inversion layer, we are each breathing in the equivalent of 1-2 cigarettes a day even if you don't smoke.
I can tolerate the natural inversion cloud cover for a while but not the unhealthy pollution that gets trapped in it.
Ideally building energy efficient homes and driving electric vehicles powered by your own home's solar panels would greatly reduce both local and distant pollution sources.