Salt Lake City

Grant funding available to help under-resourced Salt Lake City business owners go solar

February 13, 2023

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Salt Lake City’s Sustainability Department, in partnership with Utah Clean Energy, is seeking two to four locally-owned small or medium-sized businesses to apply for funding to put solar on their buildings.

The solar program, Salt Lake Solar Powered Communities, is part of a multi-year project to make solar more available to businesses in under-resourced areas of the City, with preference given to businesses owned by or serving BIPOC individuals.

“When every penny counts, small business owners benefit from solar technology by saving money on their power bills right away while also reducing pollution in our neighborhoods,” said Salt Lake City Mayor Erin Mendenhall. “I’m excited to see Solar Powered Communities’ progress and for more businesses to join this program.”

Utah Clean Energy serves as a technical expert to guide participants through the solar process. With help from Urban Sustainability Directors Network (USDN) funding, the business owners receive grants to cover the bulk of their solar installation costs.

The goal is to make solar more available in underserved communities, specifically by identifying strategies to overcome financial and logistical barriers for BIPOC-owned businesses. 

This project was initiated as part of a larger effort by the Solar Energy Innovation Network (SEIN) in the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL). In 2022, the effort began in Salt Lake City with westside community listening sessions facilitated by Utah Clean Energy. It brought to light key priorities, concerns, and goals around solar adoption; however, it did not include funding.

Since then, a grant through USDN has enabled this project to grow and support multiple businesses to go solar and build climate resilience. In 2023, three local businesses worked with Salt Lake City and Utah Clean Energy to install solar. Current business participants include M&K Automotive, Rico Brands, and the Salt Lake Barber Company/Culture Coffee.

“Our original goal was to help make rooftop solar more accessible, but this initiative has done so much to help us better understand the challenges to rooftop solar,” said Jennifer Eden, project lead for Utah Clean Energy. “Throughout the past year, we have convened business partners on the Westside for in-depth discussions, and through that process, we were able to better understand community members’ priorities, concerns, and goals, while building trusting relationships with these businesses.”

Grant applications are open now through March 9. Businesses can learn more and apply at

Read more about current business participants:


About Utah Clean Energy  

Utah Clean Energy is Utah’s leading, expert, public interest organization working to turn the tide on climate change by expanding renewable energy, energy efficiency, storage, and clean vehicles in a way that is beneficial not only for Utah’s environment and health, but our economy and long-term energy security. Utah Clean Energy is committed to creating a future that ensures healthy, thriving communities for all, empowered and sustained by clean energies such as solar, wind and energy efficiency. For more information visit

About the Salt Lake City Sustainability Department: The Salt Lake City Sustainability Department, or Salt Lake City Green, is comprised of award-winning environmental programs that help the community conserve resources and ensure a healthy, sustainable future for Salt Lake City. The Department’s Waste and Recycling Division oversees waste collection and zero waste policies across the city. The Department’s Energy & Environment Division develops policies and programs to improve air quality, slow climate change, enhance food equity, and support renewable energy.

The Solar Energy Innovation Network helps underserved communities explore new approaches to the equitable adoption of solar energy in residential and commercial-scale settings.

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