Library Press Releases

Posted on: April 5, 2017

Lewis & Clark Library Solar Array Installation Project is Complete!

Library to Dedicate Solar Project with Public Celebration on April 12

April 5, 2017 (Helena, MT)—Today Lewis & Clark Library completed the Solar Array installation project that began in 2015. The solar array will provide clean, renewable energy for the Library for many years. This project is one of the Library’s Green Energy initiatives, which included replacing the old roof and the addition of solar energy. The project will receive its net-metering certification from Northwestern Energy in the next couple of weeks and will then be turned on to begin producing energy for the Library.

A public reception to celebrate the success of the Solar Project will be held on Wednesday, April 12th from 5:00-7:00 PM with an official dedication ceremony taking place at 6:00 PM. Lewis & Clark Library Foundation President, Sonia Gavin; Library Director John Finn; representatives from the Sleeping Giant Citizens Council; and other elected officials will be on hand to make remarks and officially dedicate the solar project. The Library lobby will house an educational kiosk displaying in real-time, what kind of energy savings and carbon reduction the solar array is providing.

The solar array is expected to reduce the Library’s power usage and save on energy costs.  Library Director John Finn explains, “Now that the solar array is in place, the Library will see a monthly savings of 15% on our energy bill, a very significant amount of money over the lifetime of the system, not to mention the reduction of the Library’s carbon footprint.”

The project began in 2015 when the Sleeping Giant Citizens Council, a grassroots community organization working to protect land, water, and the community of Helena, approached the Library about becoming a demonstration project on the benefits of public solar energy. The partnership was timely because the Library was starting a major replacement of the old roof with a new, more energy efficient roof. During the roof construction, contractors installed the supports for the eventual 50k-W solar array project.

With over 25,000 visitors a month, Finn said the Library is the perfect place to have a demonstration project such as this, given that the Library is a very visible part of the community. “The Library is doing its part in reducing carbon emissions as well as being an educational resource for the community.”

Through the Sleeping Giant Citizens Council, the first-ever Helena Sun Run was held in the fall of 2015 with runners raising more than $12,000 towards the solar project. In the summer of 2016, Northwestern Energy granted the Library up to $90,000 in funds to complete the project; then later in the summer of 2016 a private donation in the amount of $33,000 made certain the project would happen without spending any Library, or public funds, on the project.

For more information on the re-roofing project or the solar project, visit the Library’s website at or contact Director John Finn at or 406.447.1690 ext 117.


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