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City Life Community Center Solar

February 23, 2016


City Life Community Center is a state of the art 34,000 square foot facility for teens in the heart of Missoula, MT.  It exists to serve as a much needed resource for teens, providing programming and events for a variety of interests.

In February 2016 SBS Solar  installed 72 Solar Electric Modules completing a 23,400-watt solar array. Nine tons of ballast ensures the panels won’t leave the roof. The only change to the physical roof was two small holes drilled to conduit the energy into the building.

Yellowstone National Park – off-grid Solar Electric

April 29, 2015

We were proud to be selected to work on this system in Yellowstone National Park. This 44kW array powers the Buffalo Ranch Ranger Station in the Lamar Valley of Yellowstone. We worked with CTA Architects and Engineering and DJ’s Electric to wire the 176 solar modules that were donated for this project. This off grid system employs a cutting edge battery bank of 200 plus recycled Toyota Camry hybrid batteries. Yellowstone park is determined to reduce their carbon footprint and will be reducing the use of propane and replace a number of gas hot water heaters with electrically powered units. This is a significant change for us in the PV industry as 20 years ago we would not consider powering electrical heating elements. Today’s more powerful solar modules and the greatly reduced costs makes this the viable.

Net Zero Habitat for Humanity Home!

February 28, 2015

SBS Solar is super excited to show you the latest Habitat for Humanity of Ravalli Co home in Stevensville, Montana.  This is an all-electric home with new energy star appliances, LED lighting and a very well insulated envelope.

With a $17,000 grant from NorthWestern Energy, SBS Solar was able to install a 30 module, 7.5kWh array with a grid tie inverter and an air source heat pump. We installed this system in December and made the final tie into the grid and installed a net meter on January 2nd.

As of this writing 5 months later, the system has made more power than what the home used thru the building process.  We utilized electric, milk house, resistant type heaters to keep our workers warm and set the drywall mud.  We eventually installed an air source heat pump in March, after the coldest period of winter.

Now that the family has moved in we will see how well all the systems preform and the actual electric usage. Depending on this power usage, we will see if they are actually netting the big Zero at the end of the year.

It was a lot of fun, and a honor, being part of the design and building of what is possibly the first net zero home in Western Montana.

Montana Solar Electric System

February 27, 2015

This is an excellent example of an on grid home that encompasses a battery bank. This gives the home owner the best of all worlds. When the grid goes down this system provides power to major appliances, powering these thru what we term a critical load subpanel. These electrical loads typically include the water pump, furnace, communications and lighting.
In normal day to day operation the system powers the home and sends any extra power backwards thru your meter, giving a credit toward your power bill. Having a system that provides both on grid feedback and battery backup for grid down times does necessitate additional equipment and cost over a more standard grid tie system.

Selway Lodge Remote Photovoltaic System

February 27, 2015

This system powers a historic guest lodge in the middle of the Selway Bitterroot Wilderness. The barn roof supports the solar array with a large battery bank of flooded lead acid batteries and power conditioning equipment inside. This system powers a number of cabins, a wash house and the main lodge itself. We installed the first system here in the late 80’s and have enlarged the system several times. Equipment is typically flown in via bush plane or for the heavy batteries, a helicopter. It always an enjoyable time to visit the lodge which is just 30 minutes away by plane yet a different climate and great wilderness minded folks.

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