Friday October 31st, 2014

Salt Lake City, aspirant host of the 2026 Winter Olympic Games, unveiled a $1.4 million solar paneling project Thursday it hopes will attract the interest of the International Olympic Committee. 

More than 3,100 solar modules will help power the Olympic Oval -- a remnant of the 2002 Olympics that Salt Lake City hosted - which hosts speed skating competitions, the Standard Examiner reported. Officials say the panels could lead to more than $100,000 in annual savings.

The oval will host the World Cup short-track speed skating competition Nov. 7.  

The city has not officially submitted a bid yet. The IOC will decide in 2019 which city will be awarded the 2026 games. 

If successful, Salt Lake would join Lake Placid, N.Y., St. Moritz, Switzerland, and Innsbruck, Austria, as the fourth city to host the Winter Olympics multiple times. 

"It makes those cities like Salt lake City more attractive," Utah Olympic Legacy Foundation CEO Colin Hilton told the Associated Press. "We aren't just making promises. We are continuing to take big steps to show the world we're a leader in sustaining use of our Olympic venues."

Salt Lake City believes it could host the Olympics for $2 billion, in part due to its existing infrastructure from the 2002 games. 

Denver and Reno-Lake Tahoe, Nev., are also weighing potential bids for future Winter Olympics. 

- Josh Sanchez

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