Missoula Urban Solar Project
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The Missoula Urban Active Research Solar Project is a partnership between NorthWestern Energy, Missoula County Public Schools, and the City of Missoula which includes unique solar installations at Missoula’s four public high schools. NorthWestern Energy collects data from each installation and use it to analyze how small, urban renewable energy projects can integrate with the electric grid.
With data made available through a website hosted by NorthWestern Energy (nwesolar.com), science, math, and CTE high school teachers have written curriculum to enable students to analyze data and learn about solar energy.
- Big Sky High School’s panels consist of high-efficiency modules. The Big Sky plan also features battery storage in an 8-foot by 20-foot container that simulates solar production by charging the energy storage, and in turn will power the high school gym.
- Sentinel High School’s “Outdoor Classroom” panels focus heavily on the educational opportunities posed by the projects, featuring panels orientated in different directions with the goal of exploring how photovoltaic panels can be arranged to maximize energy production. The design also creates a shaded outdoor learning space.
- Willard Alternative High School has an integrated solar fence made of photovoltaic panels.The design explores how to incorporate solar technology into existing buildings and infrastructure.
- Hellgate High School’s solar pilot project design acts as a carport at the school’s parking lot.