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Sustainability Around the U

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U Community Programs

U Drive Electric and U Community Solar are the University of Utah’s innovative and unique solutions for engaging with the greater community in local clean energy and encouraging positive impacts on the environment and society. These programs demonstrate the University’s commitment to air quality local power issues, both on campus and in the community.

Fostering Community Clean Energy 

These community-based programs bring together community partners and companies to offer discounts and a streamlined process for community members to purchase clean energy vehicles and/or install rooftop solar panels on their residences.

U Community Solar

Solar panels on the roof of a house near the University of Utah.
The University of Utah supports solar energy through the U Community Solar Program.

In 2014, the University launched U Community Solar. Approximately 380 homes participated and 1.8 megawatt of local solar energy was installed—well beyond the initial goal of 500 kilowatts.

The University launched the second round of U Community Solar from March-October of 2016. At the conclusion of two rounds of the program, 598 homes installed solar, producing 3,186 kilowatts of power.

This program is made possible by the continued support of the Associated Students of the University of Utah (ASUU), which has generously allocated a portion of student fees designated to encourage the development of renewable energy to fund the administrative costs of the program. Local non-profit Utah Clean Energy handles the day-to-day operations and marketing of the program.


U Drive Electric

Electric Nissan Leaf parked outside of the Park Building on the University of Utah campus
Electric car on University of Utah Campus as part of the U Drive Electric Community Program

At the end of 2015, the University launched U Drive Electric, which brought together three local car dealerships that offered multiple electric and plug-in-hybrid car models with discounts from 5-20 percent off the manufacturer’s retail price. A total of 76 zero-tailpipe and low-emission cars were purchased through the program.

In 2016, we launched round two of U Drive Electric with several additional participating dealerships with car models from BMW, Chevrolet, Ford, Hyundai, Nissan and additional used car model. A total 127 electric vehicles were purchased through U Drive Electric II. When combined with Round I there are over 200 new electric vehicles on the road thanks to U Drive Electric.

Special thanks to Utah Clean Energy, our community partner, for working with us to manage both U Community Solar and U Drive Electric. Additionally, these programs are enabled by generous grants from the George S. and Dolores Dore Eccles Foundation, Utah Clean Air Partnership (UCAIR) and Patagonia Outlet of Salt Lake City