COURTESY US EPA

Lone Mountain Land Company makes investment in solar panels on new workforce housing buildings in Big Sky

Project includes multiple buildings at Buck’s T-4 and Powder Light Housing

Lone Mountain Land Company (LMLC), the parent company to Moonlight Basin and Spanish Peaks Mountain Club, is making a sizable investment to install energy-saving solar photovoltaic (PV) systems on several of its new workforce housing buildings in Big Sky.

Workforce housing has been a top priority of LMLC and the company has already purchased or built several workforce housing developments, including Buck’s T-4 and the forthcoming Powder Light facilities where the solar PV systems are being installed. Several other LMLC workforce housing facilities have come online or are planned in the larger Big Sky area.

“Lone Mountain Land Company and its employees are committed to the health of the community we call home,” said Bayard Dominick, LMLC Vice President of Planning and Development. “It’s been an exciting process to work with proven, innovative Montana solar leaders to conserve and protect the environment. This is one step in a larger multifaceted effort.”

Buck’s T-4 Solar PV Systems:

LMLC purchased Buck’s T-4 and its associated buildings in 2020, kept all employees on staff and the restaurant open to the public, while partially converting the lodging to workforce housing. LMLC is currently building another workforce housing facility on the same property. A 42.2 kW solar PV system is now installed on one of the original lodge buildings, along with a 41.6 kW system on the new workforce housing building. The two solar PV systems are expected to produce a total 107,000 kWhs of energy each year, for a minimum of 25 years.

Powder Light Solar PV Systems:

LMLC purchased lots near the Ace Hardware and has begun construction of two workforce housing buildings. Each building will have a 71 kW solar PV system installed on it, and once completed the systems are expected to produce 182,224 kWhs of energy each year.

OnSite Energy, founded in 2012, is the solar contractor selected by LMLC to oversee the workforce housing solar projects. OnSite Energy is the largest solar PV contractor in Montana, employing over 20 team members and completing some of the most notable projects in the state, including a 216 kW system for the MSU Norm Absjornson Hall building, a 385 kW system for NorthWestern Energy’s Bozeman Solar Project, and more recently the largest rooftop solar array in the state with the installation of a 432 kW system on the Missoula County Detention Facility.

“With a total of 226.4 kWs of installed capacity, the LMLC solar project is the largest single investment we’ve seen a Montana business make in on site renewable energy generation,” said Orion Thornton, Partner/Owner of OnSite Energy. “The enthusiasm and commitment LMLC had for the project right from the start was inspiring. They’ve set a great example of how cost-effective solar PV systems can be integrated into both retrofit and new construction applications, with a goal of increasing the sustainability of their operations.”

REC is the solar module manufacturer for all the LMLC systems. REC is a Bluestar Elkem company founded and headquartered in Norway since 1996, with operational headquarters in Singapore. REC employs approximately 2,000 people worldwide, producing 1.5 GW of solar panels annually. The current CEO of REC was born and raised in Kalispell and owns a home in Bozeman. OnSite Energy is a Certified Installer for REC, therefore the product carries a full 25-Year product warranty, in comparison to 20 years for non-certified installers.

The project was awarded a grant for 25% of the project cost from the U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development office of Montana. The grant was awarded through the Rural Energy for America Program (REAP), which funds 25% of renewable energy and energy efficiency projects. Applications for funds from the REAP program are accepted each year and awarded through a competitive process.

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Lone Peak Lookout

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