General Manager Kevin P. Owens, PE, is pleased to invite Beartooth Electric Cooperative members, employees, BEC service area city and county officials and business owners to attend a ribbon-cutting ceremony to celebrate the grand opening and activation of the Beartooth Electric Community Solar Project, Shares du Soleil on Thursday, November 7, at 3pm at BEC’s Red Lodge offices. Henry Dykema, Sundance Solar and electrician, Dan Sgrignoli, Sgrigs Electric will be onsite to answer questions about the installation. The solar installation is located on the roof of the Beartooth Electric Headquarters building at 1306 Broadway Ave. N in Red Lodge, Montana.
The Shares du Soleil array, comprised of 132- 380 watts solar panels, will provide electricity credits to project partners for the next 25 years. The 50.16 KW array will generate a projected 66,000 kWhs annually.is at 10.2 years with an annual output estimated at 832 kWhs per share of the project or a $73.85 bill credit per year.
“We are thrilled to add a community solar array to the Beartooth Electric service area. It’s a clear sign to all that we fully support renewables,” said general manager Owens. “The array represents the first community solar array in the three counties we serve, Carbon, Stillwater and Sweetgrass. This is a historical moment, and a project I hope other local organizations adopt in the future.”
Plans for the project began in June 2018 with two BEC member informational town hall meetings held in Absarokee and Red Lodge, Montana. The Project Phase I kicked off in July 2018, selling out of the first 60 panels by November 2018. Phase II offered an additional 20 panels beginning in October 2018. Phase II sold out by year-end. A Request for Proposal was released in July 2019 and ultimately selected a leading, and local, renewable energy and energy efficiency company, Sundance Solar Systems owned by Henry Dykema. “Sundance Solar is honored to have had the opportunity to work with Beartooth Electric on this project. It is one that is creating significant environmental benefits as well as providing cost savings for the partners,” Henry Dykema, President, Sundance Solar Systems, Luther, Montana. Beartooth Electric will also provide public access to a web-enabled project dashboard that will provide cumulative and real-time production information that will share valuable educational information for partners, members and students
The project is fully funded by BEC member/partners, one non-member, and a grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Renewable Energy for America Program (REAP). Yellowstone Bank (non-member) and Rockin’ J, C-Store and (Gas Station-unsure what this is stating? What type of gas or fuel/petroleum based companies) have purchased panels to donate the output to Operation Round Up to fund an “energy bank” for our disadvantaged members who need assistance with their BEC bill.). Please take a moment to reach out to Julie Lindgren at Rockin’ J, Absarokee, Montana (Where located-type of store) and Joe Griffin at Yellowstone Bank, Columbus, Montana and thank them for their caring support of our members in a new and innovative way. Yellowstone Bank is not served by BEC, but they saw an opportunity to support their service BEC area customers through Shares du Soleil implementation.
In its first year, the system array is expected to generate over 66,000 kilowatt hours of electricity. The savings over the projected 25 year life of the program will offset the equivalent greenhouse gas emissions of an average passenger vehicle driving 2.8 million miles or charging 148,781,275 smartphones.
The BEC’s Solar Project-Shares du Soleil ribbon cutting ceremony will take place at the Beartooth Electric Cooperative Headquarters 1306 Broadway Ave. N., Red Lodge, on Thursday, November 7, 2019, at 3 p.m.