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’s glaciers featured in big book

February 21, 2018 at 7:27 am | Hungry Horse News When the last of Glacier National Park’s glaciers are gone, there will be a some big books to remember them by. Montana State University photography professor Ian van Coller has been working on a pr...

Comments

Read More

Trails in Sprague Fire area will take time to clear, repair, Park Service notes

February 14, 2018 at 8:30 am | Hungry Horse News Glacier National Park is predicting it will take a couple of seasons to fully repair trails and clear downed trees from last summer’s Sprague Creek Fire. The fire burned over several popular trails ...

Comments

Read More

Glacier will allow small boats with electric motors on more lakes this summer

February 07, 2018 at 8:06 am | Hungry Horse News Glacier National Park will allow non-trailered, non-water cooled boats with electric motors on Bowman, Two Medicine and St. Mary lakes this summer. Last year, in response to the discovery of non-nat...

Comments

Read More

Glacier National Park looks at leasing historic cabins on Lake McDonald

February 01, 2018 at 3:38 pm | Hungry Horse News Imagine living in a historic cabin on Lake McDonald in Glacier National Park. That vision could become a reality as Glacier officials last week released an environmental assessment that would allow ...

Comments

Read More

Contact Us

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

©2018 Hungry Horse News Terms of Use Privacy Policy
X
X