Sunpower celebration as library goes solar

Eleanor Guerrero
CCN Senior Reporter
Thursday, August 22, 2019
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Photo by Eleanor Guerrero
(Left to Right) Kathryn Eklund, Energycorps, Librarian Jodie Moore, Red Lodge Mayor Bill Larson, and Lisa Perry, NorthWestern representative mark the completion of the solar panels for the Red Lodge Carnegie Library with a formal ribbon cutting ceremony and celebration.

With the Solarize program going strong in the City of Red Lodge, the Carnegie Library has jumped into the game. 

With the completion of its solar panels, it will now have 70 percent of its approximately $3,000 annual bill covered by free energy. The community was feted at a ribbon cutting ceremony fittingly outside the library on Tuesday afternoon, Aug. 13, to mark the occasion with exhibits and treats for all in attendance. Mayor Bill Larson cut the ribbon. “It’s good for the library and good for Red Lodge,” he said.

Jodie thanked the community, Kathryn Eklund, Energycorps sustainability educator with the city for all her efforts as well as NorthWestern Energy that contributed to the major effort. The library was awarded a $24,377 grant from Northwestern Energy to cover 90 percent of the total cost to install solar panels on the roof.  "This renewable generation project received funding through the NWE Efficiency Plus Renewable Energy Program. The program is established with Universal System Benefits Program funds collected from all NWE electric customers in the State of Montana."

With the help of the Red Lodge Area Community Foundation, $1,000 was raised and the final goal of required local funding totaling 10 percent of the total project cost $27,086 was reached with the Red Lodge community handling the rest.