Thanks to Conservancy grant, Polebridge ranger station goes solar

Print Article

New solar panels at the Polebridge Ranger Station.

The historic Polebridge Ranger Station in Glacier National Park has turned to the sun for some of its power. The Park Service, with a $98,000 grant from the Glacier National Park Conservancy, recently installed three large solar panels through contractor Solar Plexus out of Missoula.

The battery bank and inverter power panel were installed in the spring and the solar array, which sits to the north of the entrance station, was installed at the end of September.

The ranger station, which houses a full-time ranger year round and seasonal staff during the summer, used to rely solely on a diesel generator. In 2014, it converted to a propane generator, but energy use was higher than expected, so the Park asked the Conservancy for help with a passive solar system.

“Right now two out of three panels are working,” said park spokeswoman Lauren Alley. “The third is having a few mechanical issues that the contractor is addressing. When all three are working, the intent is to very rarely have to run the propane generator at all.”

The project is expected to decrease fuel use, greenhouse gas production and noise by 66 percent, the Park Service noted. The Park expects the system will pay for itself in three to five years in propane savings.

Conservancy spokeswoman Amy Dempster said the organization will fund a similar solar project at the Apgar Visitor Center next year.

“If the park can save $10,000-$20,000 a year that is pretty big savings and equates to an extra set or two of boots on the ground helping out with the summer season,” Dempster noted.

The Glacier Conservancy funded this project in full through funding from last year’s Great Fish Challenge and also from general donations.

The price of solar panels has dropped dramatically in the past few years.

In 2017 alone, they fell about 30 percent, as production in China has continued to drive the market down, according to a story in the energy website, utilitydive.com.

Print Article

Read More Glacier Park

Glacier tops 3.276 million visitors for the year

November 16, 2017 at 11:36 am | Hungry Horse News Continuing a yearlong trend, Glacier National Park visitation in October was up over last year by 11 percent. The Park saw about 84,000 visitors in October and has seen more than 3.276 million visito...

Comments

Read More

Sperry Chalet investigation, report, in the works

November 15, 2017 at 9:40 am | Hungry Horse News A final report on the Sperry Chalet Fire could be months in the making, a spokeswoman for Secretary of Interior Ryan Zinke said last week. “The Facilitated Learning Analysis team came to the park se...

Comments

Read More

Village Inn roof damaged

November 15, 2017 at 9:22 am | Hungry Horse News The Village Inn in Glacier National Park will likely see repairs starting this week, Park spokeswoman Lauren Alley said. A tree fell on the roof during a windstorm in late October, crushing the sout...

Comments

Read More

Masons working on final walls of Sun Road reconstruction

November 08, 2017 at 12:17 pm | Hungry Horse News On a cold morning late last month, mason Alex Gladstone heated a new stone headwall on the Going-to-the-Sun Road with a propane torch. The heat on the stone makes it easier for masons to put small c...

Comments

Read More

Contact Us

(406) 892-2151
PO BOX 189, 926 Nucleus Avenue
Columbia Falls, MT 59912

©2017 Hungry Horse News Terms of Use Privacy Policy
X
X