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With help from nonprofits, Glacier Park’s headquarters goes solar

| July 7, 2021 7:55 AM

Glacier National Park’s headquarters has gone solar.

With support through the Glacier National Park Conservancy, Everybody Solar and the Dennis and Phyllis Washington Foundation, a solar array was recently installed on the roof the building.

The total for the project was $105,680. The Dennis and Phyllis Washington Foundation provided a $75,000 challenge grant that was critical in incentivizing additional philanthropic giving, said Conservancy Director Doug Mitchell. Solar Plexus, a company located in Missoula, helped with the implementation of the project.

"This is the second such project we partnered with Everybody Solar in the past two years, having last year installed solar at the Grizzly Point Comfort Station on the Going to the Sun Road," Mitchell said.

The array is projected to prevent the release of 37.9 tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere in its first year and reduce the park’s overall operating costs to run the building, which houses most of the park’s permanent staff year round.

The new solar energy system consists of a 42.66-kilowatt solar array onto the headquarters building. The system is expected to generate 48,500-kilowatt hours of electricity a year. This is equivalent to sequestering the carbon from 42.1 acres of forest each year. The financial and environmental savings from the solar energy system will last approximately 25 years, Everybody Solar said in a release.

“Bringing solar energy to the headquarters will be Glacier National Park’s largest energy project to date,” Jim Foster, Chief Facility Manager for the park said. “This project will show the public we mean business when it comes to sustainable practices.”

The park also has a solar array at the Polebridge ranger station and uses smaller arrays at other small outposts that need power.

The Apgar visitor center also has a solar array.

This story has been updated to reflect details on the cost and funding of the project.