Everybody Solar has installed 34.56 kW of rooftop solar on Glacier National Park (GNP)’s headquarters in Columbia Falls, Montana. Glacier National Park Conservancy, the official non-profit fundraising partner of GNP, helped make the project a reality.
“Bringing solar energy to the headquarters will be Glacier National Park’s largest energy project to date,” said Jim Foster, GNP chief facility manager, “this project will show the public we mean business when it comes to sustainable practices.”
Sustainable practices are especially important as the park’s iconic glaciers continue to melt. According to the GNP, there were approximately 100 glaciers when the park was established in 1910. In 2015, only a couple dozen glaciers met the size criteria to be considered active glaciers. The effects of melting can include an increase in seasonal wildfires and loss of fish and insects, among others.
The money saved from using the solar array will be reinvested into hiking trails, fishing rivers, campsites and staffing. Like many National Parks, GNP depends largely on park admissions fees to operate. Consistent underfunding and the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic have tightened GNP’s budget and have led to reduced staffing, closed facilities and fewer visitor programs.
“It’s more than simply installing solar panels,” said Myriam Scally, Everybody Solar’s director of operations and development, “This project is about creating a sustainable future. GNP is emblematic of the severity of our climate crisis and our need for renewable energy. I am honored that Everybody Solar had the opportunity to help protect one of America’s most iconic parks for future generations to enjoy.”
Project partners include individual donors, Business Performance Improvement, RELiON, Citizen and Engie.
News item from the Glacier National Park Conservancy. Updated on July 22 to edit the kW amount of the system