Carroll Receives NorthWestern Energy Incentive for Campus Solar Panels

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HELENA – Carroll College will soon be home to the largest on-campus solar photovoltaic array in Montana after having received a $48,000 incentive through NorthWestern Energy.

“As a Catholic institution, Carroll College is called by its mission to provide a transformative educational experience for its students while simultaneously caring for the environment, our common home,” said Carroll College President John Cech. “Solar panels on campus will not only increase clean energy sources in our Helena community, but also provide student experiences in both interdisciplinary education and civic engagement.”

The 38 kW solar array, which will be installed on the roof of the Campus Center, will generate nearly $6,000 worth of electricity annually and is equivalent to approximately eight residential solar arrays. The campus solar project is the result of a collaboration between Carroll College, the Sleeping Giant Citizens Council, and Helena Vigilante Runners. This renewable generation project received funding through the NorthWestern Energy Efficiency Plus (E+) Renewable Energy Program. The program is established with Universal System Benefits (USB) Program funds collected from all NorthWestern electric customers in the state of Montana.

In collaboration with the Sleeping Giant Citizens Council and Helena Vigilante Runners, Carroll College raised the matching funds required by the USB incentive by directly seeking philanthropic gifts and by hosting a 5-kilometer recreational Sun Run in September 2017. The three organizations are continuing their collaboration this year by hosting a second Helena Sun Run to raise funds to potentially increase the size of the campus solar array to 50 kW. This year’s Helena Sun Run will be Saturday, October 6 at 10 a.m. The run will start and end at the Carroll College Campus Center and the greater Helena community is invited and encouraged to participate and register here. ExplorationWorks will be providing additional clean energy activities and fun for the whole family.

To further continue the discussion on renewable energy and in advance of the Sun Run, Carroll College is hosting a panel discussion on “Montana’s Renewable Energy Future,” on Thursday, October 4 at 7 p.m. in Trinity Lounge on the Carroll campus. Participants include: Allan Frankl and Dick Anderson (Dick Anderson Construction), Brian Fadie (Montana Environmental Information Center), Jeff Fox (Renewable Northwest), Bowen Greenwood (Public Service Commission Communications Director), and Andy Shirtliff (PSC District 5 candidate). The event is sponsored by the Carroll College Political Science Department and is free and open to the public.

The Carroll College solar panel project represents the second successful collaboration between the Sleeping Giant Citizens Council, the Helena Vigilante Runners, and a Helena non-profit organization.  The first partnership was with the Lewis and Clark Library which resulted in the installation of a 50 kW solar panel array on the Helena library in 2017, followed by the installation of smaller solar arrays on the Lincoln and Augusta libraries in 2018.

To learn more about the Carroll College solar project and to register for the Sun Run, visit the Carroll College Solar webpage (