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Sentinel Solar-14

Missoula solar pilot projects

NorthWestern Energy partnered with Missoula County Public Schools (MCPS) and the city of Missoula, Mont. to install solar panels at Hellgate, Sentinel, Big Sky and Willard high schools. The $1 million pilot project, which was entirely funded by NorthWestern Energy, is part of the company’s large-scale studies around creating renewable energy solutions that can meet the demands of the national energy grid.

MCPS students and teachers will play a key part in these studies, providing for hands-on learning experiences that will prepare students for jobs and help ensure a sustainable future. Students will be able to track real-time data showing solar generation and the schools’ energy consumption.

Each solar installation uses different themes, designs and concepts:

Willard Alternative Learning High School Program:

  1. Solar array is integrated into an existing fence.
  2. Total Array = 15.6 kW
  3. Annual Production = 16,400 kWh per year
  4. Enphase microinverters are placed under each panel, allowing for maximized power production

Big Sky High School:

  1. Solar array is designed as a cover over a sidewalk
  2. Total array = 25.6 kW
  3. Annual production = 29,900 kWh per year
  4. High efficiency modules
  5. A battery storage project will be installed in the future

Hellgate High School:

  1. Solar array in integrated into an urban setting
  2. Total Array = 31.2 kW
  3. Annual Production = 35,000 kWh per year
  4. String inverters with optimizers to achieve maximum solar power production

Sentinel High School:

  1. Three separate solar arrays face slightly different directions
  2. Total array = 13.6 kW
  3. Annual production = 17,100 kWh per year
  4. String inverters with optimizers to achieve maximum solar power production

To learn more about our solar projects, visit

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